Letter: Motorized boat permits for disabled veteran

Letter to Editor:
Marine Corps veteran Gerald Tyler and U. S. Air Force veteran Steve Saari head an initiative to have the United States Forest Service reserve a number of day motorized boat permits for disabled veterans each week throughout the summer. Such a reservation system would allow disabled veterans to access Basswood Lake in the BWCA through Prairie Portage, utilizing an existing boat lift service.
In early November of last year, a Town Hall Meeting was held in Ely. It was attended by more than 50 Ely area veterans and their supporters. It was also attended by Congressman Stauber’s Field Representative Spencer Igo from Chisholm, who at our request, intervened on behalf of Ely area veterans. Congressman Stauber recently met with Forest Service officials in Duluth and wrote USFS Chief Vicki Christiansen in Washington asking her to establish “a program allowing motorized boat permits for disabled veterans as directed by Section 18(d) of the 1978 law.” Congressman Stauber’s letter is presented above.
As a result of discussions we held with USFS officials in Ely, Duluth and Washington earlier this week, we have learned that the decision to reserve such permits will be made in Washington. We have stressed the importance that if a favorable decision is to be made, it must take place before January 29, 2020, when the permitting system goes live and permits are made available for reservation.
If you would like to know how you can lend your support to see that our request to the USFS is honored, you may contact Tyler or Saari by calling our office in Ely at (218) 365-3324.
Gerald M. Tyler
Steven P. Saari