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Sep 23, 2010 12:21 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Rafters, landowners start river negotiations

A Colorado panel to settle rafting disputes between landowners and paddlers has begun sorting through ideas to calm the waters.

A task force set up after a rafting bill died in the state legislature held its first meeting Wednesday in Salida.

Task force member Bob Hamel says the goal is to resolve disputes between rafters and property owners without needing legislation. Hamel is Colorado River Outfitters Association president and owner of Arkansas River Tours in Cotopaxi.

The rafting dispute came to a head on the Taylor River when commercial rafters were told by a new developer they could no longer float through his property.

State lawmakers declined to intervene.

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