Nominate Your Local Public Boating Access Programs

With boaters in some parts of the country continuing to have a hard time gaining access to the water, the nation's largest boat owners group, BoatUS, wants to honor model waterway access projects. By sharing tactics, information and strategies, the fourth annual BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Award is designed to help spread the word about these successful initiatives - and hopefully increase access for boaters and anglers in your hometown.However, time is running out. Individuals, local grassroots groups, marine businesses or local and state governments only have until October 1 to enter the awards program.Waterfront residential development, regulatory red tape, increased taxes, poor land-use planning and restrictive zoning are just some of the factors contributing to the decline of waterway access for recreational boats."We need to share the stories about who has succeeded in preserving or improving public waterway access, and how they did it," said BoatUS President Nancy Michelman. For a look at previous winners, go to www.BoatUS.com/gov/AccessAwardExamples of solutions could include creative public/private partnerships, changes in land-use planning or permitting processes, tax incentives, legislation or public ballots, publicity or public education. Eligible activities must have been undertaken in the last three years.Judges will look at four criteria: First, the challenges faced in retaining or increasing access in an area; Second, the direct impact or measurable results of the solution; Third, the level of success in increasing awareness of the importance of boating access to a community; and Fourth, "repeatability," the ability to use the successful approach as a model for other areas.Winners will be announced by October 31. For more information go to www.BoatUS.com/gov/AccessAward

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