Lack of access to fishable waters is commonly cited as one of the top concerns among anglers. A bill (HB 797) currently being considered in the Maryland state House of Representatives would help turn the tide by promoting safe recreational fishing, canoe and kayak access along the state’s bridges and roads.
Maryland’s 10,000 miles of rivers and streams, as well as its 4,000 miles of tidal shoreline, can be difficult to access because adjacent roads and bridges can lack safe shoulders, pull-off areas or parking. These areas often were constructed without regards to access and angler safety.
By requiring that transportation projects consider the feasibility of waterway access – which can be achieved at minimal or no additional cost – HB 797 will support increased fishing opportunities while improving the safety of recreationalists and motorists through thoughtful planning.
Specifically this bill would:
- Prompt an inventory review of all the bridges crossing navigable and fishable rivers and streams to identify bridges and approach roadways where waterway access for fishing, canoeing and kayaking can be provided reasonably and safely.
- Require State and local transportation departments to review all bridge construction and reconstruction projects currently in the planning and design process to ensure that waterway access is incorporated into planned construction or reconstruction, except where such use cannot be provided safely and reasonably.
- Ensure that waterway access for anglers, canoeists and kayakers is given due consideration in the comprehensive transportation plans developed by each metropolitan planning organization.
HB 797 would help promote outdoor recreational opportunities for families, greatly improve safety for recreational users and motorists alike; help stimulate the economies and livability of local communities, and enhance the health and quality of life of our citizens.