Monday, February 2, 2009

Should Paddlers Pay More Fees?

canoes on river
canoeing is popular in Michigan in the summer (photo by A. Addington)
comments on a news article in the Grand Rapids Press

Buried in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources strategic plan for state parks, Howard Myerson of the Grand Rapids Press uncovered an alarming suggestion. The state is considering requiring registration of all boats, including canoes, kayaks, etc, and charging additional launch fees such as those required for power boats.

Myerson writes:
 "'We're nowhere near any kind of quid quo pro,' said Harold Herta, the operations chief for Michigan State Parks. 'This is only an idea. We are going to look around the country to see who has done what and what their experience has been.' Ron Olsen, the chief of state parks, recently said the rationale for registration is that paddlers play for free. They use DNR launch sites but don't pay anything for upkeep and maintenance like boaters who register their boats. He hoped to capitalize on the two-decade-old paddlesport boom."

Myerson makes a strong case for paddlers already paying their own way through taxes and fees.

He concludes:
 "The canoe and kayak registration idea, so far, is just that. An idea. It is a long way from becoming a formal proposal. It would require an act of the legislature to make it happen. But it is not too early for paddlers to think about what is involved. Nor is it too early for the DNR to treat the paddling community as valued natural resource stakeholder. That's different from ignoring it until the agency needs more money."

Read the full article Michigan DNR needs to better service paddlers, by Howard Myerson, Jan 31, 2009
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Brenda said...

What part of this is new, again? My son has to register his kayak now.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Hi Brenda- I didn't want to copy too much of Howard's article. It is long and well written. The DNR wants to charge paddle boats a launching fee wherever power boats have to pay one.

Anonymous said...

Look like everyone in this world is charging for something that not pollute our environment now. last time, everything is free.
See you around.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Yup, paddling seems pretty low impact... a launch fee seems tough to me, especially since one probably already paid to enter the park and leave a vehicle.

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