Fraser River might not be able to handle commercial fishing use
May 20, 2008
To the Editor:
The Fraser Town Board is discussing giving permission to two commercial fly fishing guide shops to utilize our Fraser River between Fraser and Winter Park by this summer.
Why don’t Keystone, Vail, Steamboat, Aspen, Breckenridge, and every other town with a small, free-flowing river in Colorado allow commercially guided fishing within their towns?
The answer is “easy” ” Easily accessed streams near urban centers (W.P. and Fraser) get environmentally stressed to the point of failure by overuse from the general public. Think bike rides, picnics, walks, nature hikes, dog walking, playing in the river, fishing (the big one), bird watching, wildlife viewing, skipping rocks, tubing, napping etc., etc. Towns haven’t allowed the dangerous and unprecedented addition of more pressure to their small and fragile river systems from commercial use. Why would we?
Don’t we remember? ” (Washington, D.C.) American Rivers ” names Colorado’s Fraser River the Third Most Endangered River In America in 2005.
Last summer there were double the fishermen because of the buzz about the previous year’s stream improvements (great job Fraser Town Board). I have been holding my breath this spring. It looks like there is at least double again the number of anglers.
So in two short, dramatic years there’s four times more fisherman. Such is life, for a river stuck between two urban centers with easy access along most of its length. It’s a success story that we still don’t know how the ending is going to turn out. Is the Fraser River going to be a victim of it’s own success?
The confluence of this rapid rise in popularity of fishing by the general public, and the potential addition of commercial fishing seems to inescapably lead to the tragic degradation of our magical and alluring river nestled in the upper valley. All of Colorado’s other towns fortunate enough to have a free-flowing river meandering through them know that the greatest challenge of taking caring of their river ecosystem is avoiding “loving it to death.” I hope the Fraser Town Board knows this too.
Please contact the board members with your thoughts, and be on the lookout for when the town agenda has something like “Commercial Use of the Fraser River” (two Wednesdays from now?). Their final decision may be at that meeting, so please attend.