I have property down stream of the Llano, tx river bridge. I’m thinking about offering a place to disembark from a float. It would be a 2 hour (approximately) trip. I want to start small to see if this would be a viable business. At first, it would only be a place to leave a vehicle and would require another vehicle to go to the start of your journey. Does anyone think this would be fun and useful. I’d love input and hope that the community could help me grow and be a fun retreat.
Welcome Jim, and Happy New Year.
It sounds like you are contemplating creating an easement on your property to let others access the float and water. And you mention that it would become a business. You need an attorney! There are all sorts of potential liability issues both from the property use and business-side of things that you should discuss with an attorney before moving forward.
At the simplest, someone who damage their car in your access area and look to you for relief. Yes, sounds crazy but possible. Or someone gets injured on the property or on the water and they try to sue you. Then there’s the practical side of things: Are the people in your area respectful and clean or will they turn your property into…something you don’t want it to be?
It’s a cool idea and of course only you know the potential clientele; however, I’d definitely consult an attorney familiar with land use and setting up a business in a way to protect yourself from liability as much as possible.
Thanks for your input Bobonli and Happy New Year to you. At the very least I was going to have a release of liability waiver but consulting with an attorney would probably be the best. I would hope people would respect the river and surrounding area but you’re right, some people will probably leave trash. It wouldn’t be an easement situation as I would be there greeting people and directing them where park. I would also be there when they got out. Initially they would only use my property to ingress and egress. If things work out I may include a picnic area and maybe have a grill for burgers and hotdogs. I appreciate your input! Happy New Year!
It sounds like it would fun and useful to all the paddlers. On the other hand, for you, it could become an obligation that becomes hard to get out of.
What if you start this, and then decide the trash, noise, and nuisance is just too much? Once the landing cat is out of the public access bag, it would become very difficult to close it down. People will continue to use it.
As for the business angle, there just doesn’t seem to be one. I’m not convinced that the few people who’d be willing to pay would compensate for the extra costs you’d incur (port-a-john and clean up; people will pee & poop at a take out, clean fish, and empty their cooler debris). Adding grill areas would multiply all those. You’d have to set up an honor box, which is something I tend to honor and pay in to, but many (most?) don’t. Short of the honor box, you’d have to man it, supervise it. Anticipate the occasional honor box vandalism. It doesn’t sound like a money maker. It’ll more likely end up costing you a little bit.
You’d need proper insurance. Homeowners (standard) would exclude such a venture. Definitely consult a lawyer. Liability waivers don’t allow one to waive “negligence”, and anyone potentially suing you would claim just that… -negligence.
Aren’t I just a ray of sunshine?
You’re to be commending for considering this. I know my post sounds awfully negative, but… go in to this with eyes open, Jim.
Definitely something to research. I’m in Fort Worth. The Llano is on my list of rivers I want to paddle. I think there are some paddlers, especially anglers, that would be willing to pay a small fee for parking and/or a shuttle. Try talking to other folks that do shuttles, rentals, private campgrounds, etc.
Hi Riverguy2! Your “not a ray of sunshine” response is much appreciated. It’s exactly the kind of input I was looking for. A fresh set of eyes almost always helps to see what one has not.
What I envisioned was people paddling down and hanging out in the river until they were ready to leave. I intend to escort them on and off the property. I can definitely see that there may be some hurdles. As far as it being used in the case that I change my mind, the property is fenced and gates are locked. Again, I appreciate your input and given me some things to think about. Take care and Happy New Year!
Hey Josh! Thanks for the input. I see lots of people kayaking past my place. Some even ask to get out there if I they see myself or my family there. I don’t know where they’re getting out because it’s all private property until they reach slab road in Kingsland. That’s a long trip! Shuttles, rentals and campgrounds would be in the future if the simple escort in and out thing works. Initially it would be very primitive. I was considering $15 a person. There would be a website so people could book a date and time. Without doing a lot of clearing, parking would be limited so I’d have to manage how many people could be there in a day. Thanks for your input and I hope you get to the Llano river. It’s beautiful. I believe it’s considered one the most pristine in the state. Thanks and Happy New Year!
One outfitter that’s been around a long time on the Brazos is Rochelles, http://www.rochellescanoeandkayakrental.com/. Maybe you could “do lunch” and pick their brains about what works and doesn’t.
Before you do anything, make sure your insurance will cover it. Homeowners policies will laugh at you if you are using your property commercially.
I am from or in Texas, and I know it is a different world out there, but people will sue for the stupidest stuff.
I’ll check it out! Thanks for the link!
Hey Craig! Thanks for the comment. I will definitely check in to CYA methods. I looked into this years ago and I think there’s an adventure insurance or something like that. Especially because rattlesnakes, cotton mouths, scorpions, trot lines and hooks etc.
You definitely need a comprehensive commercial liability policy plus a waiver. You also need to check the zoning for your property to see if commercial use is permitted and if there are any restrictions. There may be traffic restrictions. You need to register as a business with the feds, state, and county. You will probably be subject to various taxes and be responsible for tax filings and record keeping.
If anyone other than yourself helps out and is compensated, then you have payroll, withholding, workman’s comp, and unemployment.
Being located on the river, you may have environmental issues to deal with such as erosion control. You will probably have to provide sanitary facilities.
I ran a small business for 45 years. There are probably things I forgot to mention.
Thanks for the input. It seems that all the negatives just from this post would surely mean my neighbors would have complaints and do everything to stop it. I think I’ll just keep it as special place for friends and family. I actually had thought about all those hurdles and a lot of people do it and have more liability than just a parking and disembarking place. I kinda thought it would be a nice thing to do but bureaucracy will stifle this endeavor. I wasn’t trying to get rich and I think the fee would have been fair. Oh well.
It’s a shame that bureaucracy often gets in the way of providing a public service while providing a bit of income. But it’s best to look into what might be required rather than dealing with fines and penalties after the fact.
It might be worth looking into what is required. A well researched business plan before starting a business is always a good idea.
I understand. I think I was misunderstood initially. I was asking if this would be valuable to the kayaking community. If so, I would have done due diligence in making it a thing. I understand that taxes must be paid and liability insurance is necessary. I really just wanted to know if the kayaking community would like some thing like this. An affordable, quick trip option for places where there is no egress point for a quick trip. That’s all. I’m not trying to avoid taxes and just wanted to provide an exit point close to town. I’m sure there are many who would appreciate the service. That’s all. Thank you to all that commented. I understand liability, taxes and government red tape. If it is it is and if it isn’t it isn’t. I believe to the detriment of casual kayakers.
If you were looking primarily to offer a public amenity, although it’s a long shot and might take a long time, maybe you could work out something with your local government. In exchange for a pubic easement perhaps you could be granted a tax rebate or the ability to share in a nominal user fee while the local government handles insurance, maintenance, and other expenses. You would need to show it would be a recreational offering to the general public, that it would possibly benefit some local businesses like restaurants, and it had the support of your neighbors.
Likely a lot of work, canvassing, and lobbying. I don’t know if the property is suitable for this use and pretty much doubt if it would be worth it to you in terms of the amount of time and work involved…
As everyone has mentioned, there is definitely liability involved. I would definitely speak to an attorney before I opened it up to the public.
Where on the Llano is your property approximately ? There are long stretches with little access and it would be nice to see more, but you need to be sure you are protected.
Good idea. Your comment reminded me that Texas Parks & Wildlife has a lease program where they lease portions of private property for purpose of river access. Details here: https://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/nonpwdpubs/media/raca_landowner_facts.pdf
the lease agreement looks like an option worth checking out. We have a saying- no good deed goes unpunished, but I encourage good deeds anyway- good river karma