Idaho boating rule for invasive species stickers clarified; education merit questioned

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Idaho boating rule for invasive species stickers clarified; education merit questioned

Sun., May 7, 2017

Inflatable boats under 10 feet long are the only exemptions to the Idaho Invasive Species Sticker requirement for watercraft. (SR)

Most kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are among the vessels required to have state Invasive Species Stickers before launching in Idaho waters, state officials says.

The requirement surprises some boaters with small vessels, officials say. And some boaters say they wouldn’t mind paying the fee if it resulted in more education about the consequences of aquatic invasive species.

A story in The Spokesman-Review last Thursday regarding the regional effort to confront aquatic invasive species was not complete in describing the vessels that must meet the requirement, said Jennifer Okerlund, Idaho State Parks communications manager.

The “Frequently Asked Questions” section of the Idaho Department of Agriculture website says:

Q. What kind of vessels need to have the sticker?

A. Any boat that is registered in Idaho or another state, and any non-motorized vessel (canoe, kayak, raft, drift boat, etc.) need to have the sticker. Inflatable non-motorized vessels must be less than 10 feet in length to be exempted from this requirement.

Okerlund further clarifies that “inflatable, non-motorized watercraft under 10 feet long are the ONLY vessels exempt from purchasing a state Invasive Species Sticker” or equivalent before launching in Idaho waters.

“If your boat is 10 feet long or longer, you need the sticker,” she said.

But Craig Moore, a northwestern Montana kayaker who frequents Idaho waters, says Idaho is missing the boat.

“I think the Idaho AIS sticker is a great example of how a state should ‘not’ handle AIS fees and education,” he said in a Facebook reaction to the story.

“We travel to Idaho from Montana and are forced to buy a sticker. I have no issues with the fee. But guess what we learned from that sticker? NOTHING! We paid our money and walked out. No one educated us on AIS or inspected our boat.

“It’s a fee to pay for the program but zero info is given to the boater at the time of sticker purchase.”

Boaters who stop at the mandatory boat inspection stations are educated and information is made available there and on the state websites.

“We made it to Idaho passing two closed boat inspection stations before dark,” Moore said. “We bought the sticker the next morning at a marina. The marina said they have zero AIS info and said just pay the fee and enjoy your day. No education or inspection.”

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