New state law requires permit for some boating access sites

New state law requires permit for some boating access sites
Elkton Landing is one public access site that would require users to have a permit. (Source: WHSV)

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- The Virginia General Assembly passed a law that went into effect on Jan. 1 that requires people using state boat landings to have some type of permit.

“With COVID-19, people are getting out, and the one thing families can do together is get out on the river at pretty much no cost,” Jack Foster, owner of Appalachian Trail Outfitters said.

But now there is a cost. Anyone over the age of 16 operating a kayak, canoe or tube will need to have a valid permit. A one-day access pass is $4.

“However, it is an added expense for the family. They may be going through a tough time with COVID. Business is down, people lose jobs, and it does affect them,” Foster said.

If you already have a hunting, trapping, or fishing permit, a Restore the Wild membership, an access permit, or current certificate of boat registration issued by the Department Wildlife Resources to use the facility, those would be valid, as well.

The permits are only required at facilities owned or managed by DWR, so if you go, you’ll need to make sure you have a permit. If not, you could face a $50 fine.

“It takes about 10 to 15 minutes per person, entering in their information and then paying for it,” Foster said, explaining the process of getting a permit.

Outfitters are not responsible for informing customers about the new law, but Foster said he doesn’t want those not knowing about the new law stuck paying a fine.

“We’re definitely going to let them know if you’re going out on the water, you’re going to need a pass and you can get it here, free of service,” Foster said.

DWR noted that the funds generated from the fees will go toward meeting the increasing demand for recreational opportunities and maintenance.

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