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Photo courtesy of Frederic Lagrange / Trunk Archive

Why Pilots Still Can’t Land a Seaplane in Colorado

The latest effort to lift seaplane restrictions failed earlier in April. Here’s how you can get your fix.

Colorado might have more fourteeners than any other state, but most of the other 49 have an outdoor activity we do not: seaplaning. Since the late ’80s, a Parks and Wildlife Commission regulation has prevented seaplanes from taking off or landing on water managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), except during an emergency. They worry the aircraft, often used for recreation and fighting forest fires, could crowd waterways and introduce invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels. The Colorado Seaplane Initiative (CSI) tried to lift restrictions in late April, when the grass-roots organization, along with state Senator Ray Scott and the Department of Natural Resources, introduced legislation to revisit the conversation. The bill, which would have required planes to undergo a rigorous inspection process similar to the one used for boats, died in committee in May. But seaplane pilots can get their fix this month at Kenney Reservoir, a public waterway not managed by CPW (which means it can’t prevent seaplanes from landing). Multiple seaplanes will touch down on the 240-acre lake during the CSI-hosted “splash-in,” and spectators will get a lakeside picnic. So even though you can’t get an ocean view in Colorado, you can still catch a pretty sweet waterfront show.

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