January 08, 2006

Habitat Stamp 'Time Bomb'

To help pay for the costs of administering its state wildlife areas, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has instituted a "habitat stamp."

It started last year, but this year it is required. So when I bought my $40 combined small game-fishing license for 2006 (still a bargain, I admit), I paid an extra $10 (or $5 per license) for the habitat stamp. The cost is $5 per hunting/fishing license with a $10 maximum.

My hunting and angling friends have no problem with this, but some people are going to be really surprised.

For instance, my county includes Lake DeWeese, a nice little fishing lake that is actually owned by the Cañon City-based DeWeese-Dye Ditch & Reservoir Co., a shareholder-owned irrigation company. (M. and I owned shares when we lived in Cañon City and watered our garden with DeWeese Ditch water.)

The CDOW leases the lake for public use. When those Texans, Oklahomans, etc., who own summer houses in the area show up later this year, they will get a surprise. They will have to pay, individually, $10 if they don't have a fishing license. They will scream and moan about how their rights are being trampled etc. etc. etc. I can already imagine the letters to the editor in the county newspaper.

“When you consider the cost of a cappuccino, $10 is probably a small fee to pay for access to a beautiful place like Lake DeWeese,” said DOW spokesperson Michael Seraphin.

True. But there will be screaming and outrage anyway, I predict.

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