Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Peoples Republic of Boulder and Wheatridge

Doing some research on places to go recreational gold panning in the Denver area led me to something quite disturbing and even shocking. In a state that was literally founded only because of gold panning and mining, we now find that apparently the state and most specifically a couple of small thinking towns not only are embarrassed by the states heritage, but have outright banned their own heritage.

The Peoples Republic of Boulder and Wheatridge in fact banned their own heritage. That's right, it is illegal to pan for gold in Boulder (the entire county in fact) and also within the City limits of Wheatridge (I know it's Wheat Ridge, but nobody says it as two words) which is now attempting to annex Clear Creek all the way to the Golden city limits. Wheatridge banned prospectors in a park named "Prospectors Park". Absurd? You betcha.

You can fish in Clear Creek in Wheatridge, lose sharp hooks and lead sinkers and plastic bobbers and nylon line in the stream and catch and kill the wildlife there, you can kick rocks around while wading and disturb the stream bed all you want if you are a kayaker or fisherman (I have nothing against kayaking or fishing, in fact I enjoy fishing myself, but lets keep it real, shall we?) You can dump your trash in the stream (as evidenced by all of the trash in the streams) but don't you DARE even thinking about removing any gold.

No sir. not here is a larger issue at stake here. The right of a city or county or private individual to "claim ownership" of what the Colorado Constitution says is owned by the citizens of the state of Colorado (the public).

It seems to me, that Boulder and Wheatridge believe for some reason that they can "opt out" of the Colorado State Constitution.

Public Trust Doctrine-
Section 5 of article XVI of the constitution of the state of Colorado: (summary, emphasis mine)

"(1) The water of every natural stream within the state of Colorado is hereby declared to be the property of the public, and the same is dedicated to the use of the people of the state, subject to appropriation as herinafter provided.

(2) This Colorado Public Trust Doctrine is adopted, and implemented, by the people of the state of Colorado to protect the public's interests in the water of natural streams and to instruct the state of Colorado to DEFEND the public's water ownership rights of use and PUBLIC ENJOYMENT.

(3) This Colorado Public Trust Doctrine provides that the public's estate in water in Colorado has a legal authority superior to rules and terms of contracts or property law.

(4) The Public confers the right to the use of its water, and the diversion of the water under section 6 of this article, to an appropriator for the beneficial use as a grant from the people of Colorado to the appropriator for the common good.

(5) (A) Access by the public along, and on, the wetted natural parameter of a stream bank of a water course of any natural stream in Colorado is a right of the public to the use of its own water in concert with provisions of this Colorado Public Trust Doctrine.

(B) The right of the public to use of the water in a natural stream and to the lands of the banks of the streams within Colorado shall extend to the naturally-wetted high water mark of the stream and is impressed with navigation servitude for commerce and public use as recognized in this Colorado Public Doctrine.

(C) The water of a natural stream and its streambed, and the naturally-wetted lands of the shores of the stream, shall not be subject to the law of trespass as the water of natural streams and the banks of their stream courses are public highways for commerce and public use.
(D) Public use of water, recognized as a right in this Colorado Public Trust Doctrine, shall not be controlled in law as a usufruct but shall be a right of the public to protect and ENJOY its own water.

(6) Enforcement and implementation of provisions contained within this Colorado Public Trust Doctrine to protect the public's rights and interests in water is mandated to the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of Colorado State government to act as stewards to protect the public's interest in its water estate. ANY citizen of the state of Colorado shall have standing in judicial actions seeking to enforce the provisions of this section.

(7) Provisions of this section are self-enacting and self-executing."

It seems pretty clear that we (the citizens of Colorado) own the water and the streambed and the naturally wetted land up to the high water mark in fact.

It seems pretty clear that Boulder and Wheatridge believes otherwise, that THEY (the city of) own the land the water and the sky above and we (gold prospectors) are mere annoyances, to be banned and outlawed and run out of town on a rail, tarred and feathered to make room for the environmentally friendly kayakers, fishermen, rafters and such. You know, the activities this state was founded and built upon. (lol)

I think it was in 1845 or maybe '46 that the first kaykers and bicyclers discovered Colorado and the kayak bicycle boom was on, by 1859 over a million kayakers from back east had populated the area and built Denver to be the city we know and love today. Thank God for kayaks and bicycles.

What a disgrace that Colorado has shunned it's own heritage, led by the likes of the Peoples Republic of Boulder and now Wheatridge.
Ask the average Okie what a sooner is and every single one of them can give you a detailed description with great pride of how that state was formed by a bunch of cheaters basically (hey I'm originally from there so I can say that, besides it's true) the point is they know their states history.

Ask the average Coloradoan where the first gold strike was or where gold is found or anything about gold and you will most likely get a blank stare... followed by a lecture on the evils of gold mining.

Where is our state government as ordered to do in the above articles, in protecting our right to our waterways?

Wake up Colorado, your rights are being stripped away while you pretend to care about the state, the heritage and our streams.

Write or call the state attorney generals office and ask them why Boulder and Wheatridge get to opt out of the articles of our state constitution Public Trust Doctrine and take away our rights?


  1. Wheat Ridge Parks & Rec Director Joyce Manwaring called today with an update on the Youngfield to Indiana street annexation of Clear Creek. The annexation is on hold until that property sells. Cabella's backed out of the sale and no new offers are being considered.

  2. My self and a friend that now has gotten into gold panning after a liver transplant to get exercise and get his strength back like working at I-70 and Youngfield. We were told today that gold panning is no longer allowed north of the I-70 Bridge at Youngsfield. This was done by a Wheat Ridge office that was very polite and felt that what we were doing was causing no trouble but some one had complained about the gold panning and it is not allowed.
    Such a sham, who is running that government?

  3. Sounds like time for the cities of Boulder and Wheat Ridge should be put to task in a court of law.

  4. Great Post. I knew that it was wrong (morally) for Boulder and Wheat ridge to ban a recreational activity, but had no idea it was going against the Colorado Constitution. I am all for environmental conservation (and in some cases preservation) but believe that responsible gold panning is something that can be beneficial to streams, especially damned (pun intended) streams like Boulder Creek where no natural flood has occurred for hundreds of years.