Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Stop picking on private boaters

I have been floating the Middle Fork of the Salmon River since 1989 and have been on 23 private trips. I've been lucky enough to draw a lottery trip once in that time period. All of my other trips were a result of cancellations or friends. I think that the Middle Fork is a very special place and that it should be protected in every way possible.

Having said that, I think that not reissuing cancellations that would have been allowed anyway is a lame way around the "real issues." I know that the "real issues" deal with much more than a few boaters floating down the river. Perhaps greater regulation of group size, number of boats per group in particular and stricter outfitter regulations such as limiting sweep boats and forcing full fly-ins with no deadheads when the level drops below 2 feet.

Maybe even purging the dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers, which we all know are the real problem to begin with. Not to mention not allowing any harvesting by Native Americans of the salmon on their long journey upstream. Identifying the "redds" and putting up signs around them, as is done on the Main Salmon, might be another solution.

I think that not allowing reissuing of cancellations is the path of least resistance for the Forest Service and that "private boaters" as a group have no real organization or voice to speak up against this matter.

Please stop this senseless decision and take other steps to ensure the survival and proliferation of salmon. There are better solutions that should be implemented as soon as possible. Stop picking on the private boaters—we are not the problem but we can be part of the solution!

Herve J. L'Heureux


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