DONALD C. STRIMBECK
P. O. Box 519
Granville WV 26534-0519
31 August 2000
Senator Robert C. Byrd
311 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington DC 20510
RE: LOCK HOURS
Dear Senator Byrd:
On 22 June, I sent you copies of my correspondence with Bill Frotscher. Bill had been following the "lock hours" issue in the boating magazines and on the boating websites. What I sent you also included Bill's letter to HeartLand Boating. Bill's letter was published in the September 2000 issue of HeartLand Boating. A copy is enclosed.
Donald Strimbeck, Secretary
UPPER MONONGAHELA COMMITTEE FOR BETTER BOATING
cc w/encl: Congressman Mollohan Sincerely,
EDITORIAL NOTE BY GRINCH (Strimbeck). What now follows is Bill Frotscher's letter to HEARTLAND BOATING. Letter dated 18 June 2000. BILL'S LETTER WAS PUBLISHED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2000 edition of HeartLand Boating, page 10, "Heard from the Heartland". You cannot access Bill's letter by going to "www.heartlandboating.com". But, we certainly thank Publisher Nelson Spencer for helping to keep the spotlight on the "lock hours" issue, and, as explained in Bill's letter, other encouragements needed for long-distance boating.
H. Nelson Spencer, Editor
The Waterways Journal Inc.
319 N. Fourth St Suite 650
St. Louis MO 63102
Dear Mr. Spencer:
Recently I returned from a four day weekend cruise, centered around Marietta, Ohio. A friend and I chose this location as one to explore in his home built wooden launch. Cruising on the Muskingum and the Ohio was extremely enjoyable. One of the most remarkable aspects of the trip was the scarcity of other boaters who were enjoying the rivers with us.
If it weren't for the fisherman participating in a bass tournament from St. Marys, West Virginia, we would have been extremely lonely. Barge traffic was reasonably frequent, as was the day-boating traffic around the Marietta harbor on Saturday and Sunday.
We ran into two boats long distance cruising at the Marietta Harbor Marina and discussed with them their impressions of river cruising. In general, they were having a good time because they were avid boaters and they were doing what they enjoyed most; but it seemed there was something missing which was causing difficulties. That something which was missing was sufficient overnight tie-up space with restroom and shower facilities along much of the river, both up and downstream. The other facility which was becoming more and more scarce was refueling points, and of course fuel costs were astronomical.
There is a move a-foot to have the Corps of Engineers give recreational boaters increased consideration in their management of the waterways under their control. Building a case for increased expenditures of tax funds by counting pleasure boats traveling on the river, on other than weekends, appears to be rather difficult. However, I believe it is the lack of concern for the long distance cruising boater which has greatly contributed to the scarcity of these travelers.
While stopped at Marietta Harbor Marina, we were visited by an official of the Ohio state government. He informed us of an interest by the state in encouraging the recreational use of river assets by building parks and marinas along the river to encourage recreational use. I believe this is what is needed to stimulate recreational boating.
When the facilities are available, the boaters will come. The boaters are used to spending money, and their purchases will stimulate local economies. Private enterprise will flourish with the increased number of users, and tax incomes will quickly offset any expenditures which have been made.
Here is an opportunity for tremendous growth. Recreational boating needs to receive more emphasis. Although it has been around for many years, it is a whole new frontier waiting to be expanded.
Sincerely, /s/ William F. Frotscher