New Hampshire

Now is the time.

I don't know why these things stick in my craw so bad, but I seem to be the only one that posts on this section of the forum...I'm probably the least political person you could find out there.

Anyway, I hear through the electronic grapevine that now is the time to let the State of NH know what you think about paddlecraft registration. So put pen to paper either way and let democracy do its thing.

I'll leave it at that.
Since it's all about making money, they should allow people to pay an extra fee NOT to have a decal uglying up their boat. OR if you have a WCHA decal on your car, you don't need any decals on your boat...
"Hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers generate an estimated $579 million annually in New Hampshire"

It is all about money, and while maybe you can live free in NH, you cannot live for free. Folks in NH do not seem to have learned a basic notion of economics -- there ain't no free lunch.

It seems to me that $579 million more than covers the actual cost of the tiny agency that makes hunting, fishing, and other "ecotourism" activity possible in NH, and those millions end up in the pockets of a great many NH residents. Those millions do not, however, create a direct cash flow into the tinay agency, which is supposed to "pay for itself." What nonsense. The fear and loathing of TAXES in NH is about to kill the goose laying a rather large golden egg. Everybody in the state benefits from that $579 mil, so everybody should pay equitably, through a small, fair tax, to support the small agency that makes those millions possible. Instead, cowardly politicians who are afraid to point out the government actually does provide benefits, though often not directly seen, look for ways to get money (taxation) in ways that they can pretend are not taxes. And citizens complain about big government instead of acknowledging that they are just plain cheap. So instead of an equitable income or other tax that would allocate on some of that $579 mil to the government agency that makes it possible, politicians look to charge boat registration fees, and to raise hunting license fees, and so on. I am not against reasonable hunting and other license fees, but I am against the hypocrisy that grabs at the cash benefits provided by governmental action (fish and wildlife Mangement) without being willing to pay for the agency and its staff that actually does the work that brings in the benefits, cash and otherwise. Residents of NH, of course, are not the only ones who pretend that they benefit little from government and so should not be required to pay taxes -- it is a form of hypocrisy rampant in this country. If NH had a fair tax structure, rather than relying on profits from state-run liquor stores and fees from hunters, there would probably be no need to think about ugly stickers on canoes.
Fitz, Thanks for the heads-up. I've submitted an opinion to the governor's office: Imagine how uglified our canoes would be if all of these states we paddle in regularly followed through with the implementation of these fees. Didn't Maine want to do something like this a couple of years ago? Tom

Here is some more news on this topic:

"Conservation Decal"

There is a commitee hearing on this bill in Concord at 1:00 pm on 3-14-07.

AN ACT requiring non-motorized vessels to display conservation decals issued by the fish and game department.
SPONSORS: Sen. Barnes, Dist 17; Sen. Gallus, Dist 1; Sen. D'Allesandro, Dist 20
COMMITTEE: Wildlife, Fish and Game

This bill requires owners of non-motorized vessels to annually purchase and display a conservation decal.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Seven
AN ACT requiring non-motorized vessels to display conservation decals issued by the fish and game department.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 New Section; Fish and Game; Non-Motorized Vessel Conservation Decal. Amend RSA 207 by inserting after section 62 the following new section:
207:63 Non-Motorized Vessel Conservation Decal.
I. In this section, “non-motorized vessel” means any type of watercraft that is not equipped with propelling machinery and that is used or capable of use as a means of transportation.
II. No person shall operate a non-motorized vessel on any waters of the state, including estuarine and coastal waters, unless the vessel is properly displaying 2 conservation decals as provided in this section or is exempt under paragraph IV of this section.
III. The annual fee for a set of 2 conservation decals shall be $10, of which $1 shall be retained by the issuing agent. The balance shall be deposited into the fish and game fund. Conservation decals shall expire on December 31 of each year.
IV. The following vessels shall be exempt from the provisions of this section:
(a) Non-motorized vessels used as tenders.
(b) Non-motorized vessels owned by a municipal government, the state or federal government, or by a school district.
(c) Non-motorized vessels legally registered in the state.
(d) Inflatable tubes.
(e) Rafts and floats.
(f) Surfboards.
V. Two conservation decals shall be required for each non-motorized vessel. Decals shall be affixed on the front or rear of the vessel visible above the water line, or affixed on the bow below the gunnels but above the water line, or affixed on the inside of the gunnels at the mid-ship point so the decals are visible from both sides of the vessel.
2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

AN ACT requiring non-motorized vessels to display conservation decals issued by the fish and game department.
Due to time constraints, the Office of Legislative Budget Assistant is unable to provide a fiscal note for this bill at this time. When completed, the fiscal note will be forwarded to the Senate Clerk's Office.
Here it comes....non motorized.

SB 255 , an act to tax paddlecraft operators a $10/boat fee passed the senate committee that is responsible for it yesterday. Next stop is the senate.

My 8-year old son says to me last night, "they want to charge money to use the rivers? You gotta be kidding me." and "they want you to put a sticker on your canoe? - ya right, that ain't happening!!":D

I guess I'll get him to write some letters too.
I don't know why you guys keep complaining about this, MN has required non-motorized boats to be registered for as long as I can remember, though it's only $3-4/per year.

And if you bring your canoe into MN, it also has to be registered "someplace" if it's put on the water, doesn't matter where, MN, your home state or anyplace else, just so it's registered.

What I don't like is the almost $3000/year I have to pay for cabin property taxes, the $10 for a canoe doesn't even count.

And over on another site I visit, a guy is complaining about the $150 or so tax on his truck camper every year.

Daxx Taxes :)

Don't shoot the messenger..

Yah, Dan. I don't know why this sticks in my craw so bad. I think I mentioned that above. It's another state's issue, right? It's only $10 worth of beer money:eek:. I post it here because I have been following it, and I think maybe other members are interested. Also, this is probably, "Coming Soon to a State Near You", so maybe other members will benefit. But something still ticks me off and I can't quite put my finger on it. So here is my Brain Dump in search of an answer:

First off, it is not a registration. They have repackaged it and now it is a "Conservation Decal", probably figuring the kinder, gentler, tree hugging name will get it through. Probably still can't use my decaled canoe to paddle with you in MN.

When this first made the papers this past fall, the gripe was that F&W was broke and couldn't afford escalating health care costs for retirees for one thing. Now, it it promoted as "Conservation" funding. I wonder where the money will go first? I think it will be a long time before the environment or paddlers see anything for the buck.

Paul Revere rode through my town, and the guy that built my house hid stores from the British, so maybe some of that Tax on Tea bit flows through my veins.

Also, these revenue generating ideas are contagious and it's only a matter of time before the neighbor states get wise to the cash cow.

What's with a sticker for each boat? I don't have a sticker for each shotgun or fishing rod or each hiking boot. Maybe a Paddling License like a fishing license would be easier for me to swallow.

I also think paddlecraft should be encouraged in every way specifically because they are non-polluting, low impact, and don't need fancy launches etc..

I also think this is poorly thought out. What's it gonna take to enforce this? They will just have to spend more money I guess. More staff, More health care, more vehicles/boats, more costly equipment.

Non-paddlers come up with, and vote for these ideas.

Why is F&W supposed to be self-supporting - if they are so important, maybe they should get general fund money?

Also, dare I ask, why is F&W broke? I hear they have nice offices, and I see a first rate TV show. Why have they taken on all these other conservation and rescue tasks that they don't have money for? Maybe, there is room to tighten the belt. Maybe other departments could help out.

Maybe the bigger issue for me is I still like the freedom to throw a canoe on the car and drop it in a stream without Johnny Law all over me.

I'd be interested to hear what others think. :cool:
A tax by any other name

Here in Michigan they passed a canoe registration tax with no one knowing about it until tickets started getting handed out. We organized and took it to the capitol Lansing. Canoes became exempt as they were before. Motor boats always paid registration. Canoes are non consumptive, like hiking boots or XC skis. We don't polute or need marinas. However that is not the point. The point is that many states are always looking for ways to enhance revenue. they recently "reorganized" our camper and trailer registrations. We paid alot more and it is permanent, non transferrable license. So if you go to the camper show the two foot itis urge to buy another camper dissapates quickly because th eextra money for another license. Another point. revenues generated by canoe registration does not provide any benefits for canoeists. I would not mind paying if the conservation oficer spotted my car for me every time I went paddling. There are some tax dollars spent on canoe activites on a limited basis. Big Island Canoe Wilderness and the Sylania tract for intance. Big Island i think is governed by the feds tho. I'll spend more in one day on gas just getting to my destination, I understand that BUT Jeepers is there nothing that is free from being taxed? Fitz, if paddlers organize through the local paddling clubs and racing organizations it may be possible to avoid a tax. Can you imagine registration numbers on Russ Hicks' beautiful Rushton?
I have several concerns about taxes like these as I outlined at last year when the topic came up for Maine. Paddling is one of the most healthy forms of recreation with minimal impact on the environment. States should be encouraging people to paddle and not discouraging this activity with new taxes.
My concern is both philosophical and personal. I am a collector of antique canoes and kayaks so the Maine version of this tax would have cost me nearly $200 annually to register my fleet even though I only use each boat a few times a year. It is particularly disturbing that these taxes also usually require stickers that must be "affixed to the watercraft" when some of mine have very fancy paint designs that are nearly a hundred years old.

March 22nd - Goes to Senate.

Apparently they are wasting no time with this Bill. It hits the Senate next week. If you are going to write, do it soon.

NH Senate Contact Information:

March 16, 2007

Contact: Matt Menashes, Executive Director
Paddlesports Industry Association
Ph: 703-451-3864 x 26

Paddlesports Industry Association Warns Paddlesports Businesses and Enthusiasts in New Hampshire about a State Bill that Would Impose an Annual Registration Fee on Paddlers

SB 255 would require an annual $10 fee per boat to assist the state in raising $1.8 million for the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game on the backs of paddlers and paddlesports businesses.

(Springfield, VA.) – The Paddlesports Industry Association is encouraging paddlesports business owners and paddling enthusiasts in New Hampshire to contact their state legislators to let them know they oppose an annual $10 per boat registration fee and how Senate Bill 255 will hurt the state’s paddlesports industry.
The bill, sponsored by Senators John S. Barnes, John T. Gallus, and Lou D'Allesandro, seeks to raise $1.8 million for the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game on the backs of paddlers and paddlesports businesses by adding a $10 annual registration fee for canoes and kayaks (and other non-motorized vessels). The bill has passed a senate committee; a full senate vote is expected on March 22, 2007.

“Our association is very concerned with attempts like this to fund general government programs with taxes on canoes and kayaks. This tax provides no direct benefit to paddlers or paddlesports businesses in the state. All funds go directly to the Department of Fish and Game's operating fund,” said Paddlesports Industry Association Executive Director, Matt Menashes. "I know the pressures on New Hampshire's Department of Fish and Game. Their employees haven't had regular pay raises in years. But it's time for all of the citizens of New Hampshire to agree that New Hampshire Fish and Game is a priority. Funding increases should come from other state-wide taxes, not by hurting small business in the state." Menashes added, “There is nothing in the bill to support use of the money to expand paddling access in the state nor to improve boater education. All paddlers in New Hampshire need to fight this bill.”

As currently written, this bill will be particularly hard on paddlesports rental and outfitting operations in the state. Rental and outfitting businesses will be required to pay an annual $10 fee per boat and put two registration decals on each vessel. Many rental businesses in the state have dozens, if not hundreds, of canoes and kayaks. Just the paperwork alone for these businesses will have a significant impact on their bottom lines.

For more information contact Matt Menashes (703) 451-3864 x 26,
To download a copy of the bill, visit
A list of the Wildlife, Fish and Game Committee of New Hampshire is available online at:

The Paddlesport Industry Association encourages New Hampshire paddlesports businesses and enthusiasts to tell their legislators how Senate Bill 255 will affect them. To contribute to the Paddlesports Industry Association's government affairs fund, please contact Matt Menashes as well.

The Paddlesports Industry Association is a 501(c)(6) trade association dedicated to the growth of paddlesports. The association represents the interests of outfitters, manufacturers, retailers, instruction centers, sales representatives, and outside suppliers of the paddlesports industry throughout North America. The organization supports industry growth and its membership through programs that include representation in government/legislative affairs, consumer education, outreach/marketing initiatives, membership cost saving benefits, and professional development programs. For more information about the Paddlesports Industry Association, visit
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Check to see if Maine allows classic or historic craft to be used in events w/o perminant stickers required. Here those kinds of craft can display the sticker on a plack that hangs from the gunwale.

Of course you would still have to register and pay the fee but at least you don't need to apply the sticker.


Some folks put the ugly state sticker on the inside of the boat, though I don't know how that plays with maintenance efforts, or Conservation Officers.

Some folks cut the white background off the ugly state sticker, leaving only the state silhouette with the pertinent info stuck on their boat.

I put the ugly state sticker, less the white background, next to the WCHA sticker. It draws attention to the WCHA sticker, which can start a conversation, and also makes the WCHA sticker look even nicer than it does all by itself!
My gripe with this kind of legislation is not the money so much as having to put some kind of ugly sticker on my canoe. In Ohio this meant an annual sticker plus a set of registration numbers big enough to be seen on the side of an ore boat. In response Ohio graciously has offered us the option of paying them extra for an "alternate registration process" which involves hanging about a 2" x 8" plaque inside the starboard gunwale. My Pennsylvania friends recently confronted a similar issue. Pennsylvania requires a launch permit to be on the boat for access to any public waters. They were able to resolve the problem informally by contacting their state watercraft division. They simply agreed that they would inform their enforcement personnel that the stickers would not have to be affixed to the exterior of canoes.
Dan Lindberg said:
Check to see if Maine allows classic or historic craft to be used in events w/o perminant stickers required.

The proposed Maine law did not actually pass as far as I know so this is not an issue for me yet. I had been planning to see if a decal plate hanging from the gunwale would be acceptable if the law did pass. Ironically, more people may come to vacation in Maine if New Hampshire makes it more expensive to paddle there.

I think this is Good News.

"Sen. Gottesman Moved Inexpedient to Legislate, MA, VV === BILL KILLED ==="


The bill was defeated on a roll call vote of 22-0 and then ruled inexpedient to legislate.

A NH paddler at the session reported, "Senator Gallis said that he received enough mail about this bill and one other one that if he printed it out he could have kept the paper mills open".
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And thanks for keeping us all up-to-speed on the progress of this bill, Fitz. The summer trips to Squam and Umbagog are back on the table. I think I might've vacationed elsewhere just on principle.
I was the custodian at Church Island on Squam Lake here in NH for five years and saw many classic watercraft come visit the island. I bought my Chestnut from a Swiss family that summers there and am currently restoring it.That news posted above that the bill was killed gave me a sigh of relief. Not only for my small "fleet" but for the many beautiful watercraft that visit the island annually. Its bad enough that I had to put all that junk on my Sebago WC boat and degrade the classic lines!..Thanks for that info...I am presently looking for Maine land at Maine prices in order to escape from all this attitude of..."the flatlanders are here lets take as much of their money as we can!" without considering those of us who do live here humbly..THERE! I feel a lot better for having said that!....Happy paddling everyone! I say...
"its not how many strokes of the paddle it takes to get there, its the Joy that is in the Journey."