More On Proposed Idaho Kayak Regestration


Just so you know how disconnected Idaho’s Governor Otter is from the paddling community – here is an example. Now, I realize that this is just a form letter sent out by one of his aides, but it shows that they have no idea who we are or what we want. Here is my letter and his response:

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I am writing to appose legislation proposed by you to require registration of non-motorized boats. As a kayaker for the last 6 years I have several issues regarding this legislation I would like to address:

  1. Kayaks do not use/need prepared access points. In the six years I have paddled (averaging 60 days on the river during the last 3 years) I have never used a prepared access point other than the Banks access and for that I already pay an annual fee.
  2. Kayaking is a diverse sport necessitating different kinds of kayaks for different types of paddling. I personally own three kayaks; a creek boat, river-running kayak, and a play boat. I can not paddle more than one at a time, but my understanding is that I would be required to have each registered. My two boys also own two boats each, my two daughters one each. My wife also owns a kayak. This means my family would be forced to pay $200 each year for service I would never use.
  3. The Boise area boasts one of the largest kids paddling communities in the country. With the purchase of boats and gear to outfit each child – a lot of money is going to the retailers and back to the state in taxes. I venture to say that introducing this unnecessary tax would have an effect on the number of youngsters able to paddle and the ability of outfitters to provide kayaks for kids to learn in. We should be encouraging young people to participate in such activities and get off the couch, away from the video games and off the streets.
  4. Paddlers already pay access fees in the form of parking fees (such as the Payette system) and in launch fees (such as the Middle Fork of the Salmon River). Under this bill we would be double taxed.
  5. Proceeds from Whitewater license plates go to help fund Search & Rescue departments. Rescue personnel play an important part in helping with nearby rescues and recovery operations. These departments also provide services for inner-tubers and swimmers (more often than rescuing paddlers) – are they too going to share the burden of this legislation?
  6. Rescue of a paddler in trouble is most often by paddlers already on the river. Most SAR (Fire Departments, etc) activity I’m familiar with involve non-paddlers. If someone is truly in trouble on the river there is no time for someone to call SAR and wait for them to arrive. Rafters and kayakers never paddle alone for that reason. Safety and self/group rescue are an on going part of any paddler’s education. I understand that motorized boats are generally alone and the public in general is very ignorant of river safety and in need of the SAR services this bill outlines, not the paddling community.

I understand that there may be a need to raise funds for large, prepared access sites, however, I feel that this legislation would unfairly place the financial burden on those not using the facilities and services.

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Dear Gary,

Thank you for contacting me about registering non-motorized watercraft. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

As you know, watercraft registration fees are paid only by operators of motorized vessels.

It is my position all users of the waterway should pay their fair share of the costs of maintaining and improving that resource. I have concerns with the inequity of registration requirements between motorized and non-motorized watercraft.

Thanks you for your comments regarding non-motorized watercraft licenses. It is very important to me to hear your concerns. Without the active participation of civic virtue of people like you the system fails.

My staff member, Bob Wells, will be meeting with industry representatives to discuss possible changes to Idaho’s watercraft registration requirements.

Thanks again for contacting my office. Please keep me informed of your opinions on any state government issues of concern to you.

As Always – Idaho, “Esto Perpetua”
C.L. “butch” Otter
Governor of Idaho

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What the Governor fails to understand is that not only do we not NEED the “improvements” – we don’t even WANT them. Let’s hope our industry leaders have some heavy-hitters and can get the point across. I would suggest that users pay a fee as we do on the Payette and Salmon – if you use it, you pay each time you use it or get a yearly pass.

I also think we need to flood Gov. Otter’s office with letters. His email link is HERE.

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