Vermont Legislators Consider Fees for Non-motorized
According The Associated Press
Helm, Republican—Castleton, (Chairman of the Vermont
House Fish and Wildlife Committee) and
Representative Michael C. Vinton,
Democrat—Colchester, are considering legislation
that would have owners of canoes and other
non-motorized watercraft pay a fee to use their
crafts on Vermont waters.
agree that users of non-motorized boats benefit from
the state's management of the waters and place a
burden on those waters. However, they disagree on
how to make these users pay.
Rep. Helm wants the
state to require $10 permits for canoes, kayaks and
paddle boats and plans on introducing legislation
for a $10 conservation sticker. Helm believes that
this group of users is not paying for the privilege
to use the resources and they need to pay their
share. Revenues could be used to improve access to
the rivers, as well as enforcement where water uses
clash. One of Helm's concerns is the need to
regulate those businesses renting canoes and sending
them down the river all at once.
Rep. Vinton wants to
require owners of all non-motorized boats to
register their craft at a cost of $15 a year. He
believes that non-motorized vessels should be
registered because they use the access areas as much
as power boats.
non-motorized vessels could bring an additional
50-60,000 registrations, releasing federal matching
advocate, Kevin Rose, was not surprised and has seen
similar efforts on the national level. He has seen
conflict at Lake Champlain ramps between fishermen
and non motorized vessel operators. In the past VT
Fish and Wildlife, who maintained access, posted
signs either allowing or prioritizing only fishing
activities. This policy is now longer in effect.
understands the need for non motorized vessels to
share the cost of access, he is concerned about
organizations that provide paddling rentals or
tours. Depending on the cost of the registration it
could have a serious impact on these organizations.
Rose hopes that if a fee is adopted that the money
goes to increase and improve access.
In particular Rose is
concerned about a movement in Burlington to exclude
non motorized vessesls from Burlington Harbor.