Thursday, February 19, 2009

Path of the paddle

AS a kayak owner myself I take pleasure in hearing that the number of paddle boat registrations in Ohio are up.

Make that WAY up.

Since 2003, registrations for both kayaks and canoes in Ohio have risen 34 percent: from 60,065 vessels to 80,640 vessels last year.

Pamela Dillion, the Water Division's chief, says that folks are looking to family oriented activities and also looking for an "environmentally low impact" pursuit as well paddle sports being a healthy lifestyle thing.

I say it's because canoes and kayaks are fun to drive, cost no more to use than the initial purchase price and can be used on streams both great and small as well as lakes, reservoirs and the Big Daddy (Lake Erie).

One thing that I cannot stomach, however, is the lobbying by the Ohio Division of Watercraft in a recent press release to move the state's Scenic Rivers program from the Natural Areas and Preserves Division to the Watercraft Division.

This release was the announcement of increased canoe/kayak registrations.

The proposed move is a bad idea all around, the program being one that would be better served in the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency or the Division of Wildlife since it really deals with stream quality and not recreational boating.

Dillon's use of the increased canoe-kayak registration release to advance the agenda of her superiors is nothing short of bad and out-of-place politics.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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