A review needed

Recently I read a letter from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission on the dire need to raise the fishing license fees to support the growing needs of their department. The letter discussed the wonderful programs and enforcement efforts that the department is currently conducting and the need for more Waterways Conservation Officers. At first, I understood plea and the budgetary shortages that many state agencies fall into each fiscal year. However, being a retired member of the Pennsylvania State Police and having frequent discussions with my father, who was a former Wildlife Conservation Officer, I took a moment to pause.

Many of my friends and family, including myself, have enjoyed the use of our beautiful lakes, rivers, creeks and streams throughout the Commonwealth. I grew up like many in the area, hunting, fishing, boating, camping and enjoying the outdoors and realizing all of its benefits. I also understand the need to keep our state parks and waterways safe, as I did while I patrolled our highways and worked in several counties as a Trooper and later as a Supervisor and Station/Office Commander.

What puzzles me is why I have now heard from several friends and family that they have been stopped and harassed while floating down Pine Creek and other creeks in canoes, kayaks and even rafts and tubes. Then yesterday I read in the paper that Fish Commission arrested 3 individuals for DUI on two separate dates, floating down Pine Creek. I asked myself, what’s next? Are the WCO’s going to start arresting people for tubing while having a beer?

Shouldn’t we be worried about the people driving the motorized boats going 60 mph down the river or lake while under the influence? Who are the people in the tubes and kayaks endangering besides themselves?

I think we all should ensure that the Fish and Boat Commissioners understand that their law enforcement policies and procedures should be better reviewed and implemented, prior to asking for more money from the citizens of the Commonwealth who work hard all week and should be able to enjoy a little “float down the creek.”

Jeff McGinness


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom