The state parks board, however, liked the idea when it voted in June. (The land involved is managed by state parks as a recreational corridor, although it ultimately is under jurisdiction of the federal Bureau of Land Management.)
Then Gov. Hickenlooper rammed through the ill-conceived merger of the Division of Wildlife and the Division of Parks.
Now the new, combined board is being sued as an attempt by the anti-Christo forces (local residents, some rafting outfitters, and fly-fishing outfitters) to stop the project.
“We basically filed this lawsuit saying of they are not following their own rules,” [Rags Over The River] president Dan Ainsworth said. “They’re basically going against all of their duties and their rules and their regulations to protect the river, and they’re a big part of the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area.”
Ainsworth said a tax- and fee-supported public area should not be turned over to one individual and his own private profit or gain, and the board “sold out” to Christo. . . .
Ainsworth said if OTR [Over the River]gets the green light from the BLM to proceed with the project, Christo will have complete control of the river for the next five years.
“Parks is basically giving up their control of the river and their overseeing of the activities on the river to Christo to do with as he pleases,” he said. “We think that’s shirking their duties to protect the river, protect the wildlife and protect the impacts on the residents and they’ve just totally handed it over to Christo.”