Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Henry's Fork Motors Update: Things Go from Not So Bad to Worse

A week or so ago, The Eddy weighed in on a Fremont County ordinance regulating use of motor boats on the Henry's Fork. At the time it appeared that the county commissioners were about to pass an ordinance that actually put into writing a commonly held belief that motors were against the rules on the majority of the river. While I had a few concerns about some of the details, overall it was an ordinance that seemed like it would do more good than harm.

Fast forward to today and the commissioners have decided to do...nothing. Which seems like its okay except it leaves the vast majority of the waterway open to folks that want to run motor boats or even jet skis on the majority of the river, including Harriman State Park and the Fall River. By refusing to make any kind of decision, the commissioners have effectively voted in favor of motors on the Henry's Fork.

And while the Island Park News quotes one of the commissioners as saying they hope to get something done by next summer, this most recent development is certainly not a good sign. I find myself agreeing with  Steve Trafton from the Henry's Fork Foundation:
“I was very surprised by the commissioners’ decision regarding motorized use of the river,” Trafton said today. “I thought that their proposed ordinance needed some editing, but that it protected a lot of the river that the public obviously felt needed protection and still allowed for plenty of waters in the county where people can use motors. Simply reverting to the old ordinances, and more or less opening the river up, is asking for trouble, I think, because the public perception has clearly been that most of the river is closed.”

Trafton (who was a good guy to The Eddy a couple of years ago when I interviewed him for an article) gets right to the heart of the issue--the perception that the river is closed to motors is gone, and that perception protected the river for many years. By refusing to decide, the commissioners have left the river unprotected for the foreseeable future.

My previous post on the subject gave the contact information for the Fremont County Commissioners. The most recent public hearing, held in St. Anthony after many of the seasonal fly fishing residents had left town for the winter, seemed to indicate that there is a small faction that wants motors. Now is the time to let Fremont County know (again) that there is larger faction (anglers) who would rather not have motors on the Henry's Fork. 


  1. And it's now even worse (as of 10-18-2010)

  2. Thanks for the link. There have been some similar comments over on the Westfly Idaho board as to those referenced in the article. Sounds like Fremont County is doing its best to kill the golden goose.


    This link has a commentary and e-mail links to the county commissioners. It is also parked at a link that will stay live for months.

  4. Thanks. I'll get a new post up tonight for those folks that don't read the comments or get the RSS feed.