Traveling Across the US and Canada

I’m doing a cross country camping trip this August which will be mostly in the US but will include a stop in Canada. My question is (and yes, I did look around for the answer first), do I need to get a launch permit for each State/Provence where I intend go kayaking, or will my PA launch permit suffice?

Many states don’t seem to have state-wide permits. On west coast, OR is the only one I know of that has a state permit. So it comes down to local requirements, which in CA range from nothing to paying a launch, parking, and invasives inspection fee.

Every place has its own rules, not just state by state. Even the aquatic nuisance species inspection requirements vary within the same state.

No Provincial launch permits in Canada. If you are going to Glacier NP see what they require… No boating at all currently They are supposed to open in 2017 to non powered craft but you will require a permit.
Some states require registration but if you have a PA one there is reciprocity

Nevada requires an invasive species fee & sticker. I only know that because I was looking into another Tahoe trip & it’s been a while since I was there.

Each state has their own rules and even that isn’t uniform within a particular state’s borders. The reality is each different locale may have different rules. Take PA, your home state for example- different rules for the yough, casselman, and tohickan creek.

I’ve paddled in 23 of 50 states, In general I try to follow the rules of the place I choose to visit, but sometimes I’ve just unloaded the boat and paddled…oh the horror of it all…can you imagine…folks just paddling.

One way to ease the pain is to avoid “paddling destinations”. Those places often have the most layers of red tape and the most enforcement.

“Two streams diverged in a wood, I took the one without permits and that made all the difference”

one further thought, sometimes its simpler to just rent from an outfitter, part of the cost of the rental is the bureaucratic hurdle of the place


If your itinerary includes Michigan, canoes and kayaks are exempt from registration. State parks and some DNR launch sites require a recreational passport. $9/day for nonresidents. Of the DNR sites that do, most aren’t manned and even if a park ranger does see your vehicle, you won’t be ticketed. They just place a brochure on your windshield about the passport system. There are loads of small waterfront sites here up north where you can park at the water’s edge and paddle. That’s where Google Maps really comes in handy.

Montana no
Utah no but there are other restrictions like having a ranger inspect your gear on the Green and San Juan
Missouri no
Arkansas no
Minnesota yes
Florida no
Georgia no
South Carolina no
New England states no( but Mass some lakes require invasive certification)
New York no
PA yes ( and that state to me is a paddlers nightmare) Sometimes I bring an unregistered boat for a single paddle or a symposium
NJ no
Ohio yes but I have dropped in for a paddle unregistered again with a symposium

I have to disagree with Tdaniel. Maine is a paddling destination and red tape is non existent except for bringing a rec kayak on the Allagash… ( it does not meet length and width requirements)

Same for the Ozarks. New York is also a paddling mecca with at least a dozen canoe makers.

Utah does have more launch requirements than kayamedic indicates. The state instituted some very stringent AIS inspection standards.

The AIS problem will present more red tape than simple launch permits do. You can’t just buy the right to launch. This will be the case in nearly all western states now. Do not use last year’s information when it comes to this, AIS have spread so fast that states are scrambling to catch up.

Last night I attended a public meeting about boating access. Officials from Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, CO State Wildlife and Parks, a County Sheriff, AND private water supply/irrigation companies (they OWN some reservoirs) all were on hand. Even in just this one small region, the issues are complex and difficult to manage. Now throw in the fact that Lake Powell, oh so near to here and oh so popular, DOES HAVE ZEBRA MUSSELS. Boaters who go there go to other bodies of water also.

Any traveling boater MUST know what each body of water’s AIS requirements are. Just because canoes and kayakers present low risk of infecting does not make them zero risk.

Thank you all for the feedback.

My other concern is the heat during transport, especially in Nevada. This is an late Aug / early Sept trip and I can just see my Pungo melting onto the roof racks. any thoughts?