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Old 04-01-2021, 07:12 PM   #8
Buckladd
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I wrote for the Chronicle in Glens Falls for many years, and the paper often had an annual April fools edition. In 2007, we ran the following article. I had friends calling me up saying "what the hell" and got some pretty nasty emails and voicemails too. Others saw the humor, once they figured it out. Sorry it's so long, enjoy.

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Outdoors to be color coded
The Chronicle
March 29, 2007

Former Governor George E. Pataki twice vetoed legislation that would've required big game hunters in New York State to wear a minimal amount of blaze orange clothing. Now, his successor, Eliot J. Spitzer and is pushing the new "Color Coding" bill recently drawn up in the State Assembly.

If enacted, this bill would affect not only hunters but nearly all outdoorsmen and women who recreate on both public and private lands in New York State. The color coding bill, A040107D, pretty much does just that: it requires that that: hunters, anglers, trappers, snowmobilers, skiers, birdwatchers, hikers, cyclists and rock climbers may all eventually have to wear at least 300 square inches of a particular colored clothing when engaging in their favorite activity.

The color to be worn depends on which aforementioned sport or activity you happen to be participating in at the time. For each activity the state will create and sell, for a fee yet to be determined, recreational vests with a state insigne on them and reflective tape on the front and back for use in the dark or low light situations.

It has been suggested that the state seek sponsors for each category, which would generate even more funding for the program. There are concerns among critics however as to where any surplus of funds from such a program would wind up. That could be the general fund or the conservation fund but it is expected to help raise funds for outdoor recreation as part of the Governor's recent commitments to these interests.

Who's Doing What?
If passed, it is believed that the color system will help law enforcement officials easily identify who is doing what in the outdoors. For example, anglers would be required to wear a state mandated baby blue colored vest whenever and wherever and they are fishing. This will be distributed at the time you purchase your fishing license, or available at various retail outlets, and is to be worn anytime you are fishing. This, the officials say, will make it simple for law enforcement to recognize anglers from other users on the water such as boaters and paddlers and in effect becomes the visible fishing license that has been talked about recently.

All hunters of big and small game would be required to wear a blaze orange hat and also a specially designed blaze orange or orange-camo vest. The only exceptions to this rule would be turkey hunters and archers who must hang the hat or vest near their stand or calling location when in the field. Archers and turkey hunters however would be required to wear the vest while they are traveling from one location to another. Hunters are the only group required to wear a hat in addition to a vest.

A universal vest will be required by hikers, birdwatchers, snowshoers, cross-country skiers, mountain climbers, canoeist and kayakers (unless they are fishing) who will share the color red and will sport their bib-vests anytime they are participating in their favorite sport. They too will pay a fee, a first in the hiking community. Some hikers are applauding the effort and want to see their funds used for trail maintenance while others are saying that it is taxation without representation.

In some cases those who are participating in multiple sports can purchase a reversible, two-colored vest. Take for example an Adirondack brook trout angler who is trekking back to a remote pond. En route to the pond he is a hiker and will wear his red vest. Once he is actually on the water he can reverse the vest and sport his fishing baby blue color. Reversible vests will be more expensive than traditional one-colored styles.

Colors Undecided
There are two colors that are up for grabs with sponsorship being the key issue; they are fluorescent green and deep yellow. The state is hoping that snowmobile manufactures that utilize these colors will sponsor the vests, which will then become the exclusive color for snowmobilers in New York State. Since these vests must be worn outside layers of clothing they will be available in XXL and XXXL sizes as will be the baby blue angler's vest for ice fishermen.

Whichever color is not adopted by snowmobilers the other will be reserved for trappers who must not only sport their vests afield but will also have to purchase numerous tree collars to mark at least one tree within 15 feet of their trap sets. They too are not happy with this proposal, as they fear that other trappers will invade their traps or worst yet, non-trappers will vandalize their sets.

Public reaction to this bill has been slow but is expected to increase as word of the bill spreads. State officials expect an outcry and criticism of the program not just because people will be forced to wear something other than what they normally would but also because they will have to pay for it. Costs of the bib-vests are expected to be in the $10-$20 range but could be less if the State can conjure up sponsors such as those already being courted in the snowmobile field.

Material Questioned
One concern right off the bat is the quality of the garment as it is not a "one size fits all" type of thing. For example, hikers, cyclists and cross-country skiers commonly wear fleece or synthetic or high-performance clothing. The state has made no indication that they would adopt such materials for these users but if they do you can count on them being more expensive.

Summer recreational boaters are concerned about the vest. Not only will they offer up some interesting tan lines but again, the materials they are made from could prove uncomfortable in hot and humid weather. It is possible that only the driver of a motorboat will have to wear the recreational vest rather than everyone in the boat, unless they are fishing.

Again, early critics of the Recreational Vest Program feel that the state is only trying to get more money out of outdoorsmen and capitalizing on the growing interests in outdoor sports thanks to the number of natural resources in New York State. But officials contend that such a system will make law enforcement much easier and that the funds raised through the program will bring many rewards.

Another benefit for the state is that they will finally be able to get some answers as to how many people participate in a given number of outdoors sports. Vest sales should determine this and officials say there could be some surprises similar to the discovery of Country Music's popularity when the point-of-sale system went into place in the early 1990's and Garth Brooks became and instant sensation. Until then, there was no surefire way to measure record sales.

Whether this legislation is passed or not remains to be seen and likely would not become effective until 2008. As is usually the case, it will likely come through a little watered down. Suggested amendments already call for making the colors and amount to be worn mandatory but letting the each individual make their own choice in the type of garment they use. This is similar to blaze orange laws currently in place in other states.
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