Re: [BSA] outcome of Crapo & FWS forum at Lake Lowell
Re: [BSA] outcome of Crapo & FWS forum at Lake Lowell
Yep it was amazing ...
The other Couple was Dan & Jen Bond.
Big thanks to Jon, for getting some of us off our butts and out there. And another big thanks to all who made the effort.
I think if a larger percentage of “us” players were there; the visual created probably would have made for an open and shut case...”Kiteboarding ALLOWED”...all you guys that shoulda-woulda-coulda ... next time be there, don’t be so square!!! I know, I know, it was short notice. Another grand point about FWS operations not notifying users.
From: Kiter - Jon Bolt <idakiteman@...>
Date: Sat, 30 May 2009 18:49:26 -0600
To: Boise Sailors <BoiseSailors@...>, Snowkiteidaho <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [BSA] outcome of Crapo & FWS forum at Lake Lowell
First, THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ATTENDED. Having numbers REALLY HELPED in getting a surprising outcome. Read on to learn how we AMAZINGLY turned a meeting focused on motorboating users & concerns into a mob frenzy (of non-sailors) taking charge and attacking officials over the kiteboarding ban. I kid you not, virtually all the motorboaters (the whole crowd) jumped to our defense and carried the attack while we watched. It was an amazing.
The stunning response by the crowd came after folks realized the first ban of a water-based activity had occurred: kiteboarding. FWS was "tightening the noose." After that mob onslaught I think FWS officials were open to dialog and flexibility. Bottom line, here's what we learned from Todd Fenzl who is the head of Refuge Law Enforcement: FWS response to kiteboarding will be loose, tolerant, with at most a "three strikes" enforcement strategy if they elect to enforce...apparently a "look the other way" approach. I personally will not be reluctant to kiteboard there. However, if we are to preserve this tolerance, it's critical when we kite at LL we behave as model citizens. We cannot commit acts that abuse the habitat, antagonize other users, or god forbid result in harm from a safety lapse. Just one complaint or injury will upset the delicate balance now struck with FWS personnel. So if you go there, be responsible and don't screw it up for everyone. We have appealed to Todd to come to us if he encounters any complaints arising from our use, so we have committed to police ourselves. So he knows we'll be using the lake and he's said he'll come to us if there are problems. Now some other interesting details...and watch the local news tonight/tomorrow.
For the time-being the visitor's pamphlet will not be reprinted to remove kiteboarding from the "Prohibited" list, but Todd communicated his enforcement would be "pretty loose" (his words). Those of us hearing that interpreted it to mean tolerant, look the other way. But the message is slightly mixed. The first "team" to engage Todd was Steve Linane and Jim Vanderhyden. When those two first asked Todd about how rigorous his enforcement would be, he initially said "well, you haven't seen me issue any citations yet, have you?, but if I did I'd probably first use a "three strikes" approach: for any individual violator, 2 warnings, and third time a citation". Obviously such an approach would not likely ever result in citations because chances are slim Todd would ever encounter and choose to confront the same person 3 times (or remember a person from year-to-year). So that suggested significant tolerance. Later I entered their discussion to hear Todd actually describing to Steve & Jim locations where we might kiteboard (Gott Point, south accesses, etc.). That seemed a huge change in spirit, so I asked Todd to clarify: "if you see this activity going on, what enforcement action will you take?" That's when he said, "enforcement will be pretty loose...I could give you my work schedule [laughs]...". We also heard the regional FWS official tell us they don't want to be issuing citations. So overall, we understand FWS's approach will be "look the other way" while reserving the right to use "3 strikes" enforcement (if agitated) . Those of us hearing this were fairly elated with this newly communicated flexibility.
We are strongly on FWS radar to be pulled into the 3 year CCP process that will establish a new balance between allowed uses and wildlife. That will be a very open & participative process, watched over by Senator Crapo's staff. I'll be our liaison in that process. It will start in the Fall when the new Deerflat manager is in place.
During the 3 years the CCP is being developed, we still have a "mixed message" from FWS on kiteboarding: it's in the brochure as banned, but they'll be loose/tolerant if we behave. That mixed message allows FWS to reserve the right to assert the ban and rigorously enforce if they choose, which could leave us exposed. The fact that it remains in the brochure could also present problems for Todd, because if other users see us kite but know it's listed as banned, it could undermine FWS enforcement credibilty when it comes to other more serious offenses. Because of this ambiguity & risk, I'll continue to work w/ Crapo's staff and participate in meetings they'll be having w/ Deerflat FWS personnel on this whole use vs. habitat issue. While kiteboarding may remain as "prohibited" in the visitors pamphet, I personally have no reluctance to kite there. I think we built a lot of equity with Todd, especially indebted to Steve Linane who detected the ill-will Todd still harbored over the "gunfight at Gott Point" confrontation with some of our group a few years back. Steve graciously apologized for that incident (even if we weren't at fault), and worked Todd masterfully to build relationship, and darned if Todd wasn't pretty reasonable and flexible after that (and the mob frenzy). Thanks Steve.
NOW THE FUN / AMAZING STUFF:
Most of the crowd was there to express concern about any curtailment of motorboat uses. Senator Crapo opened by favorably reporting agreement w/ FWS that no changes to motorboating uses will arise until/unless changes come out of the CCP process. All present uses remain permitted. But underneath the surface, the crowd was worried about the "b" word (ban). So in the Q&A session after the Senator & officials spoke, I pointed out that despite FWS assurances of open collaborative processes to re-evalute uses, this year's visitor's pamphlet suddenly added kiteboarding as a newly prohibited activity...the only "on water" activity to ever be prohibited. I explained that ban was enacted without any engagement or communication with any practitioners of that sport...a totally closed action. I asked if that's the sort of "openness" and collaboration we can expect of FWS. That got the ban-fearing crowd thinking. Then after settling time, our own Scott Cryder spoke up terrifically near the end to emphasize that while motorboating use had suffered no restrictions, kiteboarding had indeed officially been banned...can't do it...the first on-water activity to be banned...and we've been doing it there for years and now WE CANNOT DO IT right now. That finished rilement of the crowd. No containment. Adversarial feedback started erupting from throughout the non-kiter, non-windsurfer crowd. People feared bans and came to our support. One local farmer went over the edge shouting several times at Senator Crapo: "tell the truth Senator" (about what the Feds want to do here). The mob frenzy about the kiteboarding ban was unleashed and was the biggest signal out of the entire meeting to Crapo, his staff, and FWS people. Senator Crapo then called for convening some collaborative sessions right there w/ FWS to see what solutions could be developed to resolve the immediate problem faced by kiteboarders.
So that's how we turned the whole motorboating use meeting into a forceful, community wide protest about the kiteboarding ban. Truly amazing to see that go down. Thanks to all those that helped get that AMAZING OUTCOME: Steve, Jim, Betsy, Scott, Eddy, Laura, another couple who's name's I'm sorry I forgot, and anyone else I missed. Your presence made a difference. Thanks for making the effort.
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