“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tales From The Nanny State

Here's a sad tale of the loss of liberty under the Nanny State.

Last weekend, a friend and I planned to spend a day kayaking.

She already has a boat, and I found it incredibly easy- and cheap- to rent one. I called a local outdoors store, reserved a large flatwater kayak and paddle. If I so chose, they'd have also provided straps for securing the kayak to my roof rack.

Having secured both boats to my Thule rack, I asked my friend, "where to?"

She replied with several attractive options in New York State....then frowned.

It seems that in New York, you can't float anything in the water without a permit. And the permit requires things like a whistle, PFD, and God knows what else.

Okay, I said, so we go to a lake, like Greenwood, and buy permits, then put in?

No way Jose.

My friend informed me that New York State sees fit to have only one (downstate? I don't know...hard to believe it's the only office in the entire Empire State) permitting office, located in Bear Mountain State Park. It seems there's woman in that office whose full-time job is selling permits to put vessels in to New York waters.

But I still lacked the whistle, and had forgotten my paddle jacket/PFD at home. So, no New York lakes for us. I don't even want to think about the fine or jail time I'd probably receive if I were stopped and found to be lacking the permit and other required accessories.

So my friend and I drove up the NY Thruway, turned left and kayaked at Monksville Reservoir. About a mile short of NY's Greenwood Lake, safely in NJ.

The put-in was a snap. Large parking lot, portable sanitary facility, and a superb concrete ramp.

Needless to say, we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of paddling on a superb day. Sunny, hot and calm. Both of us being experienced kayakers, we never were in the slightest danger.

Isn't it sad that in New York State, you can't just wake up one morning, decide to paddle your boat, canoe or kayak on a lake, toss said craft on your car and go paddle? And, if a usage permit were required, that you can't go online to buy and download said permit?

No, you have to find your way to a single office in a state park, hope it's open, and then hope you qualify to get the damn permit.

That, my friends, is the Nanny State at work.

Happy paddling in NJ!

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