Improving waterway access is aim of BoatU.S. award

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Nominations are being accepted for the second annual BoatU.S. Recreational Boating Access Award. The award recognizes those who have succeeded in preserving or improving public waterway access.

Waterfront development, regulatory red tape, poor planning and restrictive covenants are just some of the factors contributing to the decline of waterway access for recreational boats, according to the organization.

"Municipalities are levying hefty tax hikes for marinas. Boat clubs and yards are assessed at highest-use rates, which makes them targets for high-density housing, and some marinas simply give up after being stymied by years of red tape required to get a permit," said Margaret Podlich, BoatU.S. vice president of government affairs, in a statement. "Access also includes storage issues. Local ordinances and property covenants increasingly prohibit boat storage — even in your own backyard.

The aim of the award is to recognize those who are trying to reverse this trend, Podlich said.

Judges will look at four criteria: the challenges faced in retaining or increasing access in an area; the direct impact or measurable results of the solution; the level of success in increasing awareness of the issue in a community; and "repeatability," the ability to take the successful approach and adopt it in other areas.

Examples 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 need to have been undertaken in the last three years.

Applications are being accepted through Oct. 1 and winners will be announced by Oct. 31. Previous entrants are asked not to reapply.

For information or a look at last year's winners, go to http://www.BoatUS.com/gov/AccessAward

This article originally appeared in the September 2008 issue.

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