The Southern Ute Tribe allows recreational boaters (private and commercial) to float through tribal portions of navigable rivers that traverse the Southern Ute Reservation, including the Animas River and San Juan River above Navajo Reservoir. However, this boating access does not include put-in or take-out on tribal land, passage along tribal streambeds or banks, nor commercial guiding and outfitting of fishermen while on tribal water. Recreational boaters floating through the Southern Ute Reservation generally need to arrange take-out permission from private landowners, since public lands along the river corridors are highly limited and take-out on tribal land is not allowed.
The Tribe offers one exception to the put-in / take-out restriction, as follows: Fishermen who have a valid tribal fishing permit and who are engaged in fishing may put-in or take-out small, portable craft on tribal lands. Portable craft are those that can be carried by hand to and from the river, but do not include boats that must be trailered into or out of the river.
All forms of outdoor recreation on Southern Ute tribal lands, other than approved non-member hunting and fishing, is generally limited to enrolled Southern Ute tribal members, their immediate family (i.e., mother, father, siblings, children), and guests of enrolled tribal members. Tribal members and authorized non-members must follow general land use restrictions that have been established through the Southern Ute Department of Natural Resources / Lands Division, including permission requirements for crossing tribal land assignments and allotments.
Those unauthorized individuals found trespassing on Southern Ute tribal lands could face criminal trespass charges, including fines and/or jail time.