WASHINGTON – Though public access to America’s waterways is diminishing across much of the country, at least one congressman is working to improve access and the National Marine Manufacturers Association has recognized his efforts, NMMA said in a press release yesterday. The organization praised Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.) for his efforts to preserve boaters’ access on the Fox River.
Flowing north from Lake Winnebago to Green Bay, Wisconsin’s Fox River serves as an important waterway for recreational boating and fishing. A commerce avenue to the Great Lakes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been responsible for maintaining the navigational channel at an 18-foot depth. However, a proposal was recently inserted into legislation that would have reduced the operating level to six feet, effectively choking off the river from recreational use.
“America’s boaters use our waterways to relax and recreate with friends and family,” said Monita Fontaine, NMMA vice president and senior counsel of government relations. “Waterways like the Fox River are also important to the local and national economy, providing jobs and financial benefits. We thank Congressman Kagen for single-handedly acting to maintain the Fox River at a depth of 18 feet for safe navigation and the continued enjoyment of the region’s boaters.”
Wisconsin ranks fifth in the nation for registered recreation boats, with registered 639,198 boats in 2005, according to the NMMA. There are 97 NMMA member companies that call Wisconsin home, and in 2005, the state generated more than $470 million in sales for new powerboats, motors, trailers and boating accessories.
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