I object to the new ban on stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) on the Little Spokane River by Riverside State Park (“Stand-up paddleboarding banned on Little Spokane River,” May 30).
The stated rationale for this rule is that SUP users swim in the river and picnic on the shore more than canoers or kayakers, which has not been my experience. Most of the swimming on the river I have seen is by boaters who have stopped to picnic on the side of the river, not SUP users particularly. Banning paddleboards will not reduce swimming or beach usage. River use will undoubtedly increase with the new kayak rental program at the St. George put-in.
I believe most river users are not aware of rules banning swimming or beach use, nor why they are not allowed. Most users want to preserve this beautiful resource. Public education through clear, effective signage, or more ranger (or volunteer) visits to educate the public, might be a better approach.
I understand that river use has increased and associated impacts have also increased. However to single out and ban one type of watercraft seems arbitrary and unrelated to its impact. I think the Park should reconsider this ban, and perhaps hold public meetings to address the problem of heavy use and impact.