State puts the kabosh on boats left in the woods

If you can read this, you're too close. That statement has absolutely nothing to do with this week's column, but I just saw a bumper sticker printed with that timeless adage - a sticker I haven't seen since high school. Come to think of it, this pickup could have been the same vintage as my high school days.

Either way, guess I was too close.

On a completely unrelated topic, did you hear the DEC passed a law which prohibits the storage of personal property on state lands? That means any boat left on a backwoods pond will be confiscated and become the property of the state.

Owners can claim the boat, but not without incurring a penalty and paying for its removal.

In the past, the law was worded to include only camping equipment, so boats and canoes left on ponds were exempt. That changed with the newest land use revision passed in May which makes it illegal to leave behind any "personal belongings."

DEC spokesman Dave Winchell posted the following announcement on the DEC Adirondack/Lake Champlain Fishing and Hunting Hotline:

"Storage of Personal Belongings on State Land: Please be aware that the State Land Use Regulation was revised, effective May 2009, to prohibit the placing of structures or personal property on state land without authorization from DEC. Boats, camps, etc. should be removed from state lands or they will be removed by Environmental Conservation Officers or Forest Rangers."

I was really disheartened to hear this news. It has long been a time-honored tradition to leave boats and canoes on the shore of backwoods ponds. Sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts alike were grateful for their presence and would leave them flipped over where they were found out of courtesy.

Guides could carry other equipment for their sports knowing a comfortable boat awaited their arrival.

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