I leaned over the counter at the local sporting goods store and poured over the watercraft registration and invasive species sticker regulations for Idaho watercraft. The question we were trying to answer was if a 9′ inflatable pontoon boat equipped with a small electric trolling motor needs to be registered as a watercraft in the State of Idaho. One clerk said that any type of boat under power needs to be registered, while the other thought the float tube exception covered the craft in question. What started the discussion was my futile attempt to purchase an invasive species sticker for my canoe and pontoon boat. The discussion ended with me leaving the store with a sticker for only my canoe. The frustrated clerks advised me to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles, and Parks and Recreation, or possibly the Department of Fish & Game to answer the question of the pontoon boat registration.
The watercraft registration issue was frustrating at best, and I started thinking about how significantly things have changed. When I was a kid, camping, fishing, and hunting were considered sports that any family could experience, regardless of their social class. A family could actually enjoy a weekend camping trip with minimal expense, and efficiently feed their family with the fish they caught. Over the past few decades, licenses, fees, permits, tags, and registrations have established class-based entitlement to Idaho outdoor recreation. Nowadays, it is cheaper to buy fish from the grocery store than to legally catch them. And if you don’t have a computer with high-speed internet and a credit card, it’s likely you won’t be able to camp at Redfish Lake – ever. Most premium camp sites are filled with reservations by the middle of January.
Here’s an exercise to prove my point. Last week, my … READ MORE