New Signs Help Platte River Rafters

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Platte River RaftersLARAMIE– Boaters on the North Platte River in the Laramie region should find it easier to navigate the waters, thanks to new signs recently installed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and members of the Platte Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

New red and blue signs designating private and public land were installed late July on the North Platte River from the Bennett Peak BLM access put-in downstream to Treasure Island.  The signs alert floaters to land status: red markers designate private land, blue markers indicate public and private land open for access downstream from the side of the river the sign is posted on.

“Anyone floating the North Platte River needs to understand Wyoming laws pertaining to floating through private lands before pushing off from shore,” says project coordinator Steve Gale, Laramie region fisheries biologist for the Game and Fish.  “We want to maintain good working relationships with all landowners and following floating rules will help in that effort.”

Water is the property of the state, and anyone can enjoy it and any bordering public lands.  If you float through private lands, however, you must stay in your boat at all times, unless advance permission has been obtained from the landowner.  Wading or anchoring on private land is also prohibited.  State law only allows you to leave your craft briefly to navigate around obstacles.

“Knowing which land is public and which land is private can be difficult,” Gale says.  “The marker system should help boaters know of what’s on both sides of the bank.”

The original red/blue signs on the North Platte River were installed in the early 1990s, but many had become unreadable or were missing entirely.  Laramie region Game and Fish employees spent the last two summers surveying the river to determine what signs needed to be replaced.  Game and Fish provided the new signs, and volunteers from Platte Valley Trout Unlimited helped install them.  The river is now correctly signed from the USFS boundary downstream to Saratoga.

Gale says additional replacement signs are planned.  “Next summer, we’ll focus on updating signs from Saratoga downstream to Interstate 80.  We want to keep all the red/blue signs current and help boaters enjoy their float while following the rules and respecting land ownership.”