Regarding Changes to Boat Access in Accomack and Northampton Counties in 2021

1. FEES TAKE EFFECT AT DWR ACCESS SITES EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2021:
Thanks to Charlie Koski, who sent along a recent news release issued by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR). That release says the following:
Beginning January 1, 2021, any person using a Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR)-owned or managed facility, including boating access sites, must have a valid Virginia hunting, trapping, or fishing permit, a Restore the Wild membership, an access permit, or current certificate of boat registration issued by DWR to use the facility. This does not apply to persons under the age of 17 or passengers with a permitted operator. The operator must have a permit. Acceptable access permits include:·         VALID VA Trapping, Hunting or Fishing license·         VALID VA Boater Registration (must be Virginia)·         VALID Daily or Annual DWR Access Permit·         CURRENT Restore the Wild Membership For an updated FAQ, please visit: https://dwr.virginia.gov/boating/access-faq/
If customers find themselves at an access site without the proper permit, they can use DWR’s online licensing portal, Go Outdoors Virginia to purchase through the website or app (free download from the app store).·         www.gooutdoorsvirginia.com·         https://dwr.virginia.gov/app/
NOTE: The DWR owns or shares 235 boating access facilities in Virginia, the following six of which are in Accomack and Northampton Counties.
Accomack: Messongo Creek (Hammocks) Pungoteague Creek (Harborton) Queens Sound Channel (Queens Sound)
Northampton: Cape Charles River (Cape Charles) Oyster Harbor (Oyster) Red Bank Creek (Red Bank)
It is unclear if permit/fee signage will be placed at these sites, or how this applies to individuals not required to have a license (like seniors with a kayak or canoe). Please go to the DWR website pages noted above to answer any questions you may have.

2. ACCOMACK COUNTY WILL BEGIN CHARGING PARKING FEES AT 16 COUNTY-OWNED BOATING ACCESS SITES STARTING JULY 1, 2021 
You may have seen some brief info about this in the paper last month, after the Accomack County Board of Supervisors voted to impose fees at county-owned boating access sites. At their November meeting there was a public hearing on this matter. It was reported in the newspaper that no one from the public spoke at the hearing. Attached to this email is a copy of the local law, so you can read it in its entirety. Note that all Accomack taxpayers and owners of boats registered in Accomack are entitled to a free permit.
Contact your supervisor if you have any issues with this change to local law. One supervisor, Jackie Phillips, is a member of this club. One other, Ron Wolff, was a member until 2020.
Some club members from Northampton County have expressed unhappiness with the actions of Accomack, and have contacted their representatives in Northampton to ask about reciprocity (meaning that maybe Northampton could enact similar fees for their boating access sites).
I contacted Accomack DPW Chief Stewart Hall to ask him about what was going to happen. Among other things I asked why this wasn’t being done on a calendar year basis, which would be easier for people to follow and comply with, if there would be signage and collection boxes, how this applied to sites where they got construction funding from the VMRC, etc. Here’s what I know from his recent communications.
“We have an implementation team that is working on the particulars of the permit design, website links for at-home purchase/print, etc.  Information will be forthcoming on that as we get closer to the implementation target of July 1, 2021.  Please note the following:
-Any Accomack County taxpayer (real estate or personal property) is entitled to a permit free-of-charge.  The permits will be mailed out automatically to owners of boats registered in Accomack County and other Accomack taxpayers (such as owners of kayaks that do not require registration) will also be entitled to a free permit, although they may need to pick up at Treasurer’s Office (still working on that).
-Note the section [of the local law] that allows for reciprocity with Northampton County.  It will be Northampton’s choice whether to implement a permit system, what if any fees will be charged, etc.
-For projects where VMRC/RFAB funding was used, the requirement is that holders of Va Saltwater Recreational Fishing Licenses receive a discount, which they will.  In fact this is the exact fee structure that has been in place at Quinby Harbor for many years.  Accomack chose to apply the discount county-wide, but only Quinby Harbor and Greenbackville Harbor are currently bound by the requirement with VMRC.  The 20-year contract with Harborton has expired.
-New signs will be installed at each facility that indicate a parking permit is required….We are also planning to disseminate information to local tackle shops (including Seahawk) and online (like TidalFish).  Would be great if the Angler’s Club could help us with that also.  No collection boxes, permits would be purchased online or through Treasurer’s Office.  The revenue will go to the County’s General Fund (where most of the funding for boat ramp projects comes from now).  As for the date, the County’s fiscal year always runs July 1-June 30 and there was not enough time to do all the prep work for implementation by January 1.”
As is noted in the new law, the locations that are specifically affected include: Anns Cove – Bloxom, New Road
Folly Creek – Accomac, Route 651
Gargatha Landing – Gargatha, Route 680  Greenbackville Harbor – Greenbackville, Route 3006 Hack’s Neck – Pungoteague, Route 759
Hammocks – Sanford, Route 788
Harborton – Pungoteague, Route 180, Shore Drive  Johnson’s Landing – Parksley, Route 670
Gladding Landing – Bloxom, Route 685
Old NASA Ferry Dock – Mappsville, Route 730 Parkers Creek Landing – Accomac, Routes 666 & 674 Pitts Landing – New Church, Route 804
Quinby Harbor – Quinby, Route 606
Schooner Bay – Onancock, Route 802
Southside Chesconessex – Onancock, Route 649 Young Creek – Bloxom, Route 676 
Daily and annual fees per motor vehicle are $7 and $40 respectively. A $75 fine was stipulated per violation (that does not include court costs). The sheriff’s department will be responsible for enforcement.

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