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Since 2001, Colorado has recognized a special type of water right for whitewater parks, which are constructed within a river channel to provide play features for kayakers and other boaters. These water rights, called "recreational in-channel diversions, " are unique to Colorado, even though whitewater parks exist in several western states. This Article addresses some of the underlying reasons that recreational in-channel diversions were established in Colorado, and traces the controversy surrounding their recognition by that state's courts and legislature. Over the last decade, however, the controversy has largely died away, and whitewater park rights have now become an accepted part of Colorado water law. This Article reviews these developments, examines the policy choices made by the legislature in enacting two different statutes on recreational in-channel diversions, and offers concluding observations regarding Colorado's experience with whitewater park water rights.

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Ecology Law Quarterly



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