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Posted: May 27, 2020

We do not do this to create conflict with others

Letter to the Editor

In response to the May 24 letter ‘Concerned about jet boats on St. Mary River’ by Dale and Doug Martin of Wycliffe:

It is clear in the letter that it was created with intent to create conflict amongst the user groups of the St. Mary River. I am a responsible jet boat owner who lives in Cranbrook; I enjoy the waterways of the East Kootenay the same as other people do and respect nature and wildlife. The natural resources are here to share for all non-motorized, motorized, and mechanized users together.

The St. Mary River is a large tributary whose banks swell each year at the same time during spring runoff. This time allows an opportunity for recreationists such as jet boat operators to utilize the river system. We feel that the impacts are non-measurable at this time of the year during high water, further to this the turbulent river and the sediment flowing down has a far greater impact than a couple of jet boats going up the river.

The wake from these jet boats is minimal as the boats are built to operate in shallow waters and because of the low draft it allows them to ride on top of the water without creating large wakes.

The impact to cutthroat trout is always a concern; however, in comparison to other endangerments to the species, it is again non-measurable. It is not our intent to create conflict with other user groups, perhaps impacts could be far greater on the cutthroat trout than our impact.

It is not the intent, whether you are motorized or non-motorized on the river, to displace wildlife of any type including goslings and mothers rearing babies but this happens no matter whether you use non-motorized, mechanized, or motorized you will still displace wildlife to an extent. Not every person who ventures into natural settings goes out there with the intent of harming or displacing wildlife, that includes jet boat operators.

Wildlife is very adaptable and as an example, look at the wildlife within our communities. We share the river systems with all users and our jet boats operate on them only when conditions allow. At this time there are only a couple of rivers that we can operate on. We do not do this to create conflict with others.

It is a common misconception that jet boat operators are a danger on the river to other users. We operate our boats in the safest manner possible, abiding by the right-of-way regulations as set out by Transport Canada. This means yielding to or overtaking non-motorized vessels in a safe manner. These boats can stop on a dime and maneuver with the utmost precision.

Your comparison between the two experiences of rafters floating down the river and the jet boats you observed was your personal perception of what should be allowed on the river. Those silent rafts sneaking past you have just as much of an impact on the birds that are on the water and can displace them at an equal value. Please consider the conflicts that you can create amongst user groups before writing a letter for publication.

Yours truly for wildlife and its habitat.

Dan Butler,

Cranbrook


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