Here's Carter Smith's message to kayakers....
TPWD Weighs-in on Kayak Registration Rumor:
Recently a TPWD employee saw this thread on TKF and e-mailed TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith to find out if there was any truth to the rumor that TPWD is seeking to register kayaks.
The short answer is no.
With Mr. Smith’s permission, I’m posting his reply to the TPWD employee here:
“As I understand it, the idea of registering kayaks has been floated in past years as a way to help fund conservation work, particularly for aquatic systems. Nothing has ever come of it. There is no such proposal on the table that I am aware of, and I haven't heard anything like that being proposed at the legislature.
“As you may be aware, the lion's share of our conservation funding comes from the sale of hunting and fishing license fees and associated revenues. That revenue stream is not sustainable, nor robust enough, to truly fund our land and water conservation work at the level it needs to be funded in order to meet the burgeoning pressures on our natural resources.
“As such, we need to explore other mechanisms to help augment revenue from hunting and fishing license fees to support conservation work that benefits anglers, hunters, kayakers, birders, hikers, nature enthusiasts, and all others who enjoy and appreciate Texas' great outdoors. It is a major challenge facing the agency, and we need all our outdoor enthusiasts and conservation partners to help us identify solutions.”
Speaking for myself, I would ask you to consider that the department has dipped into existing funds to help local communities survey, design interpretive materials and build launch sites for 15 coastal and inland paddling trails. Applications continue to pour in, and it looks as if we may add many more paddling trails this year.
TPWD also works creatively with communities, river authorities and others to fund paddling launch sites with federal “pass-through” grant dollars, and recently awarded the Kayak Anglers Society of America a $50,000 Community Outreach grant to fund that organization’s Heroes on the Water program.
As you can see from Carter’s response above, there is a sincere desire to engage outdoor enthusiasts in addition to the traditional “hook and bullet” crowd – which many of us who paddle also are part of. I truly believe the leadership of TPWD is open to your ideas and committed to working with the paddling community as a partner.
Aaron Reed (kayakrockport)
Wildlife & Fisheries Information Specialist