This article appeared in this morning's Lawrence Eagle-Tribune.
EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA
December 9, 2013
N.H. considers annual fee for canoes, kayaks
Proceeds to fund Fish & Game
By Doug Ireland
---- — Dropping a canoe or kayak in New Hampshire waters may soon come at a cost.
It could also become a little more expensive to use a rowboat, sailboat or any other “non-motorized” vessel under a bill being proposed in the Legislature.
Sen. Robert Odell, R-Lempster, is sponsoring legislation that would require owners of these watercraft to pay a $10 annual fee to the state. They would be issued a special decal. Proceeds would help fund the financially strapped Fish and Game Department, which is facing a $3 million deficit.
Lempster is the chairman of a commission charged with studying how to keep Fish and Game operating through the creation of additional revenue sources. Until this year, the department was funded solely through fees from hunting and fishing licenses.
The nine-member commission concluded in its report last month that the $10 fee and other measures would help keep the floundering state agency afloat. Other recommendations include increasing licensing fees and raising the age requirement for receiving free lifetime resident licenses.
“It would be catastrophic if we don’t find an additional source of funding,” said Thomas Hubert, chairman of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission and a member of the study panel.
Hubert and another panel member, Rep. David Kidder, R-New London, said $10 a year is a small price to pay to enjoy the privilege of canoeing, kayaking or boating in New Hampshire. Lempster could not be reached for comment.
“We have to do something to make (the department) more viable,” Kidder said. “We are trying to do this in a relatively painless way.”
Four other states, including Pennsylvania and Illinois, charge similar fees.
Kidder said the department’s responsibilities have increased over the years and hunting and fishing license fees are no longer enough to fund expenses for something such as search-and-rescue operations.
That’s why the Legislature appropriated $1.6 million for the Fish and Game Department in the two-year state budget passed in June. The department will receive approximately $700,000 in fiscal 2014 and roughly $900,000 in fiscal 2015.
It was the first time the Legislature set aside money for the self-funded agency.
Hubert said licensing fees generate nearly $30 million in annual revenue. He also said people who hunt and fish in New Hampshire boost the state’s economy by about $560 million each year.
Hubert and Kidder admit it would be difficult to enforce the fee requirement. It’s hoped people would pay the fee voluntarily once they know it funds an important cause.
“Certainly, some people are going to be upset about it, but other people are going to say, ‘Glad to do it,’” Kidder said.
“We hope when they learn the big picture, they will be willing to contribute,” he said. “I do anticipate some pushback. No one wants to pay a fee today for something that was free yesterday.”
Officials from some Southern New Hampshire hunting and fishing clubs say the fee is equivalent to paying a tax in a state that prides itself for not having a sales or income tax.
“I’m just shocked that the state wants to add another tax,” said Don Hathaway, treasurer of the Plaistow Fish and Game Club. “To me, it’s another tax — that’s all it is.”
Hathaway and Pelham Fish and Game Club president Mitch Kopacz said hunters and anglers are already paying for the right to enjoy their sport through annual licensing fees.
They shouldn’t face another fee for using a boat or canoe to go fishing, the sportsmen said.
“The government is trying to find any way it can to collect more money,” Kopacz said. “If I have already paid a fee to the state, I shouldn’t have to pay an additional fee.”
Rep. James Webb, R-Derry, a member of the House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee, is also critical of the fee. He’s afraid it would hurt the state’s tourism industry.
“A fee is a tax — it’s another move to a tax,” he said. “You are going to drive people right out of the state. We rely on the tourism industry.”
Hardshell Kayak Sail Rigs
|Table of Contents|
|Messages in this Topic|
Out of control.|
Posted by: magooch on Dec-09-13 10:25 AM (EST)
Government at all levels is simply pricing itself out of the peoples ability to support it. I guarantee you that if government had 100 percent of all the wealth, it would be trying to figure out how to get even more.
NH Fish and Game is |
Posted by: kayamedic on Dec-09-13 11:08 AM (EST)
responsible for way more than fishing and hunting. I don't have a problem paying ten bucks to canoe there.
Posted by: wccanoe on Dec-09-13 12:18 PM (EST)
According to the website you posted, much less than 14 percent of rescues were boating related. Why should we pay?
From their website it|
Posted by: Hataryoneh on Dec-09-13 12:20 PM (EST)
appears all the funding for rescue activity comes from the registration of boats, snow machines and OHRV.
paddle free or die|
Posted by: daggermat on Dec-09-13 12:32 PM (EST)
I still have that tee shirt fromWayne at npmbcom. Seems the last time nh tried this they figured out enforcement was more costly than revenue. 10 bucks a decal, one decal per boat, could cost some people 100 bucks or more. They dont register fishing rods the same way. Take me a lot less to boycott nh this time around, but i remember the promise of boycotting ct. river rrgattas by some clubs also held some sway....cell phonr,pardon the typos.
Thats fine with me too|
Posted by: kayamedic on Dec-09-13 12:32 PM (EST)
I hike in NH quite a bit as I live just a few miles from the border. Now enforcing any law is just going to be darn difficult.
Posted by: JackL on Dec-09-13 3:29 PM (EST)
Come down to the southern states where most if not all of the ramps and launches are free, and they will come to your rescue with a smile on, and none of them charge.
Paddling not free|
Posted by: jonsprag1 on Dec-11-13 8:04 PM (EST)
My kayak, paddle, PFD, vhf, compass, paddle leash, wetsuit, dry suit, spray skirt etc all cost me money--question is must we pay the government for the privilege of paddling on public waterways---
The issue isn't a mere $10.|
Posted by: spiritboat on Dec-09-13 2:00 PM (EST)
The issue is the same as it is in the American Congress: No belt tightening, very little mention of cuts first before looking for "new revenues": Just go ahead and tap the American people...After all, it's so little to ask (FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY!)and besides, the sheeple work for the government--Not the other way around!!! And government can't be allowed to go out of business, even just a little--That would be running an administrative budget LIKE A REAL BUSINESS has to!
Here We Go Again!|
Posted by: dougd on Dec-09-13 2:38 PM (EST)
I am against any kind of registration for my canoes and kayaks. Just doesn't make any sense to me especially since many of the places I go have NO boat ramps and the ones I usually use are basically town run goat paths! And if it were to get pushed through I probably wouldn't do it because I have 6 hulls and that is 60$ a year!
Not against fish, or game. |
Posted by: g2d on Dec-09-13 5:58 PM (EST)
Not even against "Fish and Game" as a source of state employment.
A bogus ship........................|
Posted by: thebob.com on Dec-09-13 6:13 PM (EST)
The rest of the story???|
Posted by: thebob.com on Dec-11-13 10:52 AM (EST)
The issue is...|
Posted by: sweeper on Dec-11-13 6:27 PM (EST)
It's going to get worse. NH tried this a few years ago and it failed, and it most likely will fail again, but as the feds cut their budget the states will have to pick pup more of the tab, so eventually this will happen.
There is a solution.|
Posted by: magooch on Dec-11-13 9:55 PM (EST)
That's what trickle down economics...|
Posted by: sweeper on Dec-12-13 8:55 AM (EST)
was supposed to do. Help out the little guy by GIVING money to the rich.
Charge for rescues|
Posted by: BNystrom on Dec-12-13 6:32 AM (EST)
The state has already started doing that and they need to continue to do so.
I once hit a blizzard going up|
Posted by: spiritboat on Dec-12-13 1:02 PM (EST)
I had a long email discussion...|
Posted by: BNystrom on Dec-12-13 7:01 AM (EST)
Posted by: spiritboat on Dec-12-13 8:50 AM (EST)
Your points to him were all "right on the money."
Posted by: dougd on Dec-12-13 9:18 AM (EST)
Here are the email addresses of the two who are pushing this issue, again. I have already sent a letter to both as have others I've spoken with. Maybe they will get the point that this really is not the way to get cash for F&G if enough people write in.
Welcome to the gang|
Posted by: emanoh on Dec-12-13 10:00 AM (EST)
Ohio has been doing this for years and a few years gao tacked another $5 on our registrations for the "scenic rivers" program. Rec boat ownership is exploding, so the burocrats did a money grab and is funding the program on the backs of the paddles when fishermen, hunters, powerboaters use the same scenic river waterways. I've seen no improvements, signage upgrades or any change in what we already had on our area scenic rivers. We're an easy target, so they go right for our wallets. We pay $35 every 3 years for our OH registrations, and it doesn't seem bad until you start getting into multiple hulls. I personally own 5 hulls.
Posted by: daggermat on Dec-12-13 12:18 PM (EST)
The local restaurants,motels and campgrounds realized they would lose visiting paddlers as well, and added their voice last time. Not sure, but maybe it was Dartmouth who has a rowing regatta on the Ct. river, and i do remember the threat of that being boycotted.
I don't know...|
Posted by: BNystrom on Dec-13-13 6:23 PM (EST)
Posted by: Guideboatguy on Dec-12-13 12:56 PM (EST)
good for you and kudos|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Dec-13-13 1:18 PM (EST)
I imagine most people at his level are in the same position and it makes no sense to get irate and upset with or blame them. So it's nice to hear you had a reasonable discussion and he was willing to hear what you had to say.
We obviously didn't solve the problem...|
Posted by: BNystrom on Dec-13-13 6:30 PM (EST)
...but we didn't create any new ones, either. ;-)