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Hoosier boaters must have 2006 lake permit
In past years, fishing and recreational boaters faced the annual requirement of purchasing an annual launch permit, or paying the daily launch permit. Not having the $20 annual permit on their boats meant only having to pay $3 out of pocket to the attendee at the tollbooth. However, things are changing for Hoosier boaters in the form of the new mandatory lake permit.

As Indiana boaters gear up for spring fishing and recreational boating at Indiana state parks, reservoirs and state forests, they are reminded this year, for the first time, they will need to purchase a lake permit before heading on the water. The new regulation went into effect January 2006.

Boaters are no longer required to purchase a daily launch permit at the entrance gate or ramp each time they enter the property.

Beginning this year they must purchase an annual lake permit that allows them to use any state park, reservoir or state forest lake through the entire year.

The new permit - $20 for motorized watercraft and $5 for nonmotorized watercraft - is now available at state parks, reservoirs and some state forest offices, online at the DNR website in Mother Nature’s Mercantile, and at the gatehouses when they are open.

All private watercraft including motorboats, canoes, paddleboats and rowboats, using state park, reservoir or state forest lakes must have and display the permit. Personal watercraft moored at marinas, private docks, group docks or bank ties must also have and display the permit. State-owned watercraft and state-managed boat rental concessions are exempt.

Lakes on which a permit will be required include the main bodies of water and all fishing ponds/lakes at Patoka Lake, Brookville Lake, Hardy Lake, Monroe Lake, Salamonie Lake, Mississinewa Lake, Roush (Huntington) Lake, Cagles Mill (Lieber) Lake, Cecil M. Harden (Raccoon) Lake.

Also included are Worster Lake at Potato Creek State Park, Kunkel Lake at Ouabache State Park, Summit Lake at Summit Lake State Park, Versailles Lake at Versailles State Park, Ogle and Strahl lakes at Brown County State Park, Lakes Shakamak, Lenape and Kickapoo at Shakamak State Park, all lakes at Chain O’Lakes State Park, Spring Mill Lake at Spring Mill State Park, Whitewater Lake at Whitewater State Park, Lake Lincoln and Weber Lake at Lincoln State Park.

All lakes at state forest properties require the permit, including Deam Lake SRA, Ferdinand State Forest, Starve Hollow SRA, Harrison-Crawford State Forest, Clark State Forest, Greene-Sullivan State Forest, Jackson-Washington State Forest, Martin State Forest, Morgan-Monroe State Forest, Owen-Putnam State Forest, Pike State Forest and Yellowwood State Forest.

Boat access ramps may be staffed early in the season, but are not likely to be staffed throughout the summer. The permits are required, and Indiana conservation officers will be watching to ensure the permits are displayed on boats.

Several public access sites maintained by the DNR’s division of fish and wildlife do not require the permit. Further, the permit is not required for boating on Indiana streams and rivers or natural lakes such as Lake James, Lake Wawasee and Lake Michigan. Lakes located in state fish & wildlife areas operated by the division of fish and wildlife do not require the permit nor do lakes at national forests and U.S. fish and wildlife refuges.

Funds collected from the annual lake permit, along with camping, entrance, swimming and program fees, are deposited in a dedicated account to support the operation of state parks, reservoirs and state forests. The funds are used only in those locations.

“User fees like this are the way we pay for many of the services enjoyed by our visitors,” said State Parks and Reservoirs Division Director Dan Bortner. “A significant portion - about 67 percent - of the funding for the operations of state parks and reservoirs comes from these user fees. Only about 33 percent comes from general tax dollars paid by Hoosiers.

Boaters must be careful not to confuse the new annual lake fee with the Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) Fee that is paid when boaters register a watercraft with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The LARE fee and the lake permit are two entirely different programs.

For a fact sheet about the lake permit, visit the DNR website at www.dnr.IN.gov or contact a state park, reservoir or state forest office near you. A listing of all recreation fees for 2006 is at www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/properties/park_rates_fees.html

Outdoor Women at Big Oaks
The Big Oaks Conservation Society and Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge are hosting the second annual, Outdoor Women at Big Oaks (OW@BO) National Wildlife Refuge (located on the former Jefferson Proving Ground) at Madison, Ind., on Saturday June 3.

OW@BO will be a one-day program designed to offer women ages 14 and over the opportunity to gain valuable in-the-field skills in an environment encouraging fun and success in the outdoors. The award winning program will target women who want to learn outdoor skills through a variety of courses including camping, fishing, outdoor photography, hiking, canoeing, bird watching, archery, shooting sports and much more. It will also allow women to develop a greater understanding of wildlife conservation and meet others who share their enthusiasm for the outdoors. The program will provide the foundation to train women as outdoor educators.

Registration forms can be downloaded from: www.fws.gov/midwest/bigoaks

To have a registration form mailed, call the office at 812-273-0783. Some classes are limited in size; so early registration is recommended to get into first choice classes. Registration deadline for the event is May 31.

OW@BO is an event designed to offer women a noncompetitive atmosphere in which to gain skills in the out-of-doors. Early bird registration before May 15 is $40 and after May 15 it is $50.

Registration fee includes a choice of three courses, lunch, use of equipment and supplies, and a one year membership to Big Oaks Conservation Society, an annual (2006) pass to Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge and a canvas tote bag.

This farm news was published in the April 19, 2006 issue of Farm World.

4/19/2006