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Water Law

Headwaters Summer 2008--Public Land Issue

Headwaters MagazineColorado's public lands mean that there are places to go and things to do. We have national grasslands, mountain parks, wild rivers, open space and more. This issue explores Wild and Scenic River designation, the impacts of decades-long fire suppression policies, mines and minerals and more.

Browse selections from the magazine below or flip through the full magazine online.

Currents--Letter from the Director

As I write this column, I am unwinding from two days spent touring the lower South Platte River with a host of legislators, water managers, engineers and farmers. You will hear more of our tour in the October edition of Headwaters, but the time spent discussing the challenges of meeting demands in an era of transition, and of joining forces to ensure we all prosper, is fresh on my mind.

Read more: Currents--Letter from the Director

Watermarks--Letter from the Editor

—Two years ago, I signed on with a bond analyst publication to cover the Kansas City Fed Chief, Tom Hoenig, when he's in Colorado. At a meeting in Montrose where he spoke to a group of business people, I sat beside a travel agent. She'd moved from Texas to Montrose a few years earlier. During the course of lunch, she told me that she wasn't having the same level of success in Colorado that she'd had in the Lone Star State. She said Texans vacationed. They went places and stayed for a while, which often required a travel agent's assistance.

Read more: Watermarks--Letter from the Editor

A Full Charge of Relevance

Public Lands Vision Expands Beyond Possibility, Probability

By Patty Limerick

In 1907, the first chief forester, Gifford Pinchot, traveled to Denver to speak at the Public Lands Convention. The creation of Forest Reserves by Pinchot and his close friend Theodore Roosevelt had riled up many Coloradans, by what they saw as the imposition of federal authority over lands that locals had come to feel were theirs to use. The Brown Theater in Denver was filled with holders of that opinion. Thus, when Pinchot stood before them, the audience jeered, booed, shouted, and, in every way they could think of, indicated that they disapproved of the man who stood before them.

Read more: A Full Charge of Relevance

Concepts Collide

By John Loftis

'the greatest good for the greatest number'

A crowded raft bounces over rapids; a skier glides across a high country meadow; a fisherman stands in clear water, his line looping gracefully behind him. Such images entice tourists and natives alike to enjoy outdoor recreation in Colorado, mostly on public lands. But the simple, pure images obscure difficult conflicts in the uses of public land and water.

Read more: Concepts Collide

Of Mines and Minerals

By Eryn Gable

Ever since William Green Russell discovered gold at the mouth of Dry Creek in 1858, mining has been a fact of life in Colorado. It was the lure of making a fortune from the state's vast natural resources that led many settlers here.

Read more: Of Mines and Minerals

Wild and Scenic Sparks Anxiety, Opportunity

By Peter Roessmann

In Congressional testimony in 1921 on renaming the former Grand River in the Colorado River, Rep. Ed Taylor exclaimed that it was silly to have a river in Colorado named the Grand River since it could be said that all the state's rivers were grand. Likewise, it may seem foolish to designate certain river stretches in Colorado as wild and scenic since by all appearances so many reaches deserve that tag.

Read more: Wild and Scenic Sparks Anxiety, Opportunity

A Lesson in Leadville

By Eryn Gable

The issue of abandoned mining tunnels made headlines last winter when the Lake County Board of Commissioners claimed that the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel posed an ‘imminent and substantial’ danger to the Arkansas Valley watershed.

Read more: A Lesson in Leadville

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Water Law Resources

Guide to Colorado Water Law explores the basics of Colorado water law--learn how it has developed and how it is applied today. This, WEco's most popular Citizen's Guide, was authored by Colorado Supreme Court Justice, and WEco Board Vice President, Gregory Hobbs. Take a look or purchase a copy.


Law Supplement Headwaters magazine a special edition of Headwaters that provides an in-depth look at Colorado water law. Browse the magazine to supplement our Citizen's Guide and your knowledge. View it here

Administration Headwaters magazine read how enforcing the law in our water-scarce state can get tricky and meet the men and women who allocate Colorado's most precious resource. Browse the issue here.

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