(WFXR) — More than two months after an access fee went into effect at boating facilities owned and managed by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), officials announced the effective date for that fee would be delayed until summer 2022.
According to a statement released on Thursday, March 4 by the DWR, the new boat ramp fee was enacted by legislation during the 2020 General Assembly and initially went into effect on Jan. 1, 2021 for department-owned boating access sites.
Officials say the access fee — which would could $4 per day or $23 per year — would have applied to those who did not already hold a boating registration, fishing license, hunting license, or access permit (who were exempted, along with those under the age of 17).
However, during the 2021 General Assembly, lawmakers decided to extend the effective date of the new fee until July 1, 2022, thus allowing the DWR to work with stakeholders to determine the best way to fund these recreational access sites while avoiding unintended consequences for outfitters, education providers, and people for whom the fee could pose an economic hardship.
The DWR expects to assemble a group of interested stakeholders in the coming months and issue a report of the group’s findings by Dec. 1, 2021.