STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As Routt County prepares for a summer predicted to be marked by extreme drought, the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission has adjusted the Yampa River Master Plan to preserve the river and its aquatic wildlife.
The commission voted earlier this year to allow commercial river operators to give tubing and angling outfitters the ability to flex their daily allotments as needed each month, which is also part of a larger effort to take better care of the river.
Because the commission voted to make such a change earlier this year, Parks and Recreation staff recommended the commission vote to limit the number of angling permits allowed on the river.
“Before we make more changes, we wanted to understand the impacts of the change we already had,” Parks and Recreation Director Angela Cosby said.
The commission voted April 20 to approve angling permits for Brooklyn Outfitters and 970 Outfitters in addition to Straightline Sports, Yampa River Outfitters, Bucking Rainbow, Steamboat Flyfisher and North Park Fishing Club, which already have permits to operate on the river. But commission members agreed that would be the limit.
“More angling outfitters could increase monthly user days along the river by roughly 240 people each month,” said Craig Robinson, Steamboat parks, open space and trails manager.
Robinson also said the city was not able to hire river rangers this year due to budget cuts, and more people on the river could require more supervision.