LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt on Tuesday co-sponsored a resolution formally opposing a recent Michigan State Waterways Commission (MSWC) recommendation that canoes, kayaks and other paddle vessels be subject to state registration fees.
“Canoeing, kayaking and other watersports are incredibly popular in my district,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are home to some of the most beautiful waterways in the world. Enjoying the water is a way of life where I am from and I do not support adding a fee that would hinder both a generations-long tradition and our state’s economy.”
MSWC recently passed Resolution 02-2018-01, which recommended the Legislature pursue an effort to require the registration, with a new fee, of all rigid-hulled kayaks, canoes and paddleboards eight feet or longer. Such vessels are currently exempt from registration fees when used recreationally.
Senate Resolution 153 would formally oppose this recommendation.
“Currently, most vessel registration fees go toward lake patrols and launch maintenance,” Schmidt said. “The problem is those who enjoy canoeing and kayaking often prefer rivers or streams to lakes, and state recreation passports already pay to maintain state launch sites. This means those who prefer canoeing or kayaking will see little, if any, benefit from a registration fee.”
Schmidt also added that a registration requirement and fee can only be implemented by legislative approval and that the MSWC has no authority to impose registration fees on residents. The senator went on to say he vows to fight any effort that comes up in the Legislature.
“I will not support any sort of registration or fee increase for canoes or kayaks,” Schmidt said. “I think imposing an additional cost on people who want to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise and take in our state’s beauty is counterproductive in many ways. We should be encouraging people to travel, to give a small boost to a local economy and to enjoy what Pure Michigan has to offer.”
SR 153 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Outdoor Recreation and Tourism.