Golden City Council members finally got their feet wet on March 29, as they took their first look at a draft ordinance that would require tubing companies and similar outfitters to be licensed by the city.
Based on a similar ordinance used by Steamboat Springs, the City of Golden hopes to address the growing number of people who recreate on Clear Creek.
The six-page draft presented by the Creek Subcommittee detailed proposals for licensing eligibility, fee structures, safety compliance, and suggested ways to limit the volume of creek users to meet safety, environmental, sustainability and quality goals.
But even with a draft, there are still questions.
Golden Mayor Laura Weinberg, who led the discussion, suggested further discussion is needed on to whom the license requirement would apply.
“In the draft ordinance, it talks about fishing and fishing guides, and canoes, and all kinds of things,” Weinberg said. “So further definition—who does it apply to? All creek users? Just the ones in the creek? The ones on the creek path that are renting devices?”
But for outfitters like Beth Battilla who owns Adventures West River Tube Rentals with her husband Mitch, the biggest concerns have to do with operating a shuttle that would take tubers back up to the launch point, and the proposed limitation of the number of trips down the creek.
“Setting up a shuttle will cost any tubing company quite a bit as it takes a lot more manpower,” said Battilla, who hopes the city would offer a break in fees for outfitters that offer such services. “I’ve done it twice at our two other locations … It would like rewarding the companies that provide the shuttles to get the people off the path.”
Battilla also asked the council, when considering the ordnance, to limit the number of tickets sold, rather than the number of people using the creek.
“We know a lot of the ideas have come from Steamboat, who’s been doing this for a while,” she said. “But in Golden, we need to consider that our tubing float is only about a 25-minute float down the creek. Theirs is one to three hours, and most of our people would like to go twice.”
Battilla said limiting the number of trips down the creek would “cripple us.”
No decisions were made on the draft policy.
It is returned to the subcommittee for further refinement.