Butch Otter wants non-motorized watercraft to register, pay fees. LA Times.

Fair is fair? Well, the fees all go to facilities used mostly by motorized craft.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is past President of the Western Watersheds Project.

13 Responses to Butch Otter wants non-motorized watercraft to register, pay fees

  1. avatar mikarooni says:

    Let me get this straight. Butchy Boy is against registering guns; but, he wants me to register my float tube? What’s next, a waiting period for kayaks?

  2. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    The motorized industry is behind this, good buddies that they are with our Gov. What’s next – a state license on running shoes, hiking boots, or backpacks? The strident motorheads can’t stand the thought that some of us prefer to recreate without engine noise or fumes. After the past three-day weekend, am wondering if the ATV industry got a law passed in the Idaho legislature that said you had to own one of the #$%@&* ATV’s before you can leave Boise or Twin Falls and head for the mountains. I saw kids as young as 8 years old, with passengers to boot, driving hell bent all over Forest Service roads — perfectly legal I guess in the spud state. Maybe Butch should focus on the ATV rampage, rather than non-motorized boating.

  3. avatar kt says:

    In that vein: Does anyone know if there indeed has been some new law from the ID Legislature last session (and signed by Butch) that allows ATVs on all kinds of “main” roads, as well? I truly do not pay attention to all the evil the Leg does – so may have missed the details on something. I heard it discussed in the context of spin like “this is so the folks in rural areas can ride ATVs to get groceries and not spend a lot on gas”.

  4. avatar vicki says:

    remember when the danger of atv’s had them up for being out-lawed?
    Now if they said they’d license unmotorized craft, and all that revenue would go into land purchases for conservation, I’d say do it. But my guess would be that would never enter Butch’s mind.

  5. avatar Save bears says:

    We can drive our ATV’s here in Montana as long as they are licensed, have operational lights, horn and a rear view mirror, quite a few around my area of Montana are using them for getting groceries and such, not really that much different than a Motorcycle…I think the licensing of non-motorized boats is pretty lame..

  6. avatar Chuck says:

    Just one more way for Butch to collect monies from people and thats all it boils down to.

  7. avatar Layton says:


    I have both motorized AND nonmotorized boats — I think it’s a crock that nonmotorized boats get a free ride!!

    When I go to the ramp to launch my jet boat — which has a motor and is registered all legal and proper — when I get to the ramp, what happens??

    About 85% of the time there is a float party there, getting in or getting out, doesn’t matter — they still have to plug up the ramp like it is there God given right to do so for at least an hour!!

    They have to inflate/deflate boats (why can’t that be done OFF the ramp?) then pack or unpack, then assign life preservers, boats, seats, and “who holds hands with whom” during the safety lecture, etc., etc., etc.

    Meanwhile my registered, legal, motorized boat and crew cool their heels!!

    AND, it’s MY $$ that are paying for the ramp!!

  8. avatar mikarooni says:

    Wow, just imagine the unnecessary, childish, and capricious carbon footprint of a “jet boat” type of toy. It boggles the mind, sort of like a Hummer for the water, huh?

  9. avatar JB says:

    What the hell do you need a boat for in Idaho?

  10. JB,

    Jet boats are used on Snake and Salmon Rivers. You can go upstream with them.

    Pretty exciting! Yes, they don’t get good mileage.

  11. avatar JB says:

    Thanks, Ralph. I was just messing around. Being form Michigan (the land of the Great Lakes) I always found it funny how many people in the West had boats. After all, you live in a semi-arid climate where even the largest rivers would be considered little more than streams, at least where I come from! 😉

  12. avatar dave smith says:

    Save Bears claims people are using ATVs to get “groceries and such. Not really much different than a motorcycle.”

    Yes it is. ATVs are usually illegal on city streets. Most motorcycles are street legal. 3 and 4 wheel ATVs are not. They’re recreational toys. You can drive a Honda VTX 1300c motorcycle on the streets of Kalispell, but you can’t drive a Honda TRX 250ex ATV on the same streets. It’s illegal.

    I realize ATV kooks try to do it. That’s why there are a zillion miles of ILLEGAL user created ATV trails on public lands.

  13. avatar timz says:

    ATV’s are not illegal on the city streets where I live and I do use it to go to the grocery store, post office and the local pub. It saves me a ton of money on gas. (BTW I have never had it off an authorized trail.)


July 2008


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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