We all know how it works. Over the snowy months you talk with your river buds, deciding what rivers you want next year. Come time to apply, you fire off applications to every agency, for every river, for whatever you can get.
Some years you get the permit(s) some years the permit(s) get you.
In any case, then the horse trading begins; We'll run this river on your permit, that river on mine, but wait; Joes' wife doesn't like my wife, and I don't want to be in the same state with that loafer Caleb...............
It takes months of high level horse trading and butt hurt feelings to get it into the best possible season.
And then, and only then, do the unneeded permits get canceled.
Greed runs rampant in the permit system; understandable, but regrettable.
Non refundable entry fees would only increase the stress level, non refundable permit fees would force quicker decisions. "reusable" permit fees would further complicate the entire process.
Schutzie would think a higher (refundable) entry fee coupled with a non refundable permit fee would get the desired result.
Once you win a date, you have XX days to pay the permit fee or forfeit the entry fee. Once the Permit fee is paid, you forfeit if you don't use it.
This would force applicants to think twice about shotgunning the permit system, and force them to make a decision early enough to allow for permit reissues.
And a pox on Joe's wife; my wife is a better cook and she can row the rig.
One other thought; maybe the late cancellations are because we just got a last minute permit on our first choice river, but it conflicts with our Idaho permit, so now we gotta dump the Idaho permit at the last minute.
Again; greed prevails. I want what I want when I want it and I want it free!
Quick comment on the greedy commercial fat cats; for better or worse, they have costs and risks private boaters cannot appreciate. Ease up a bit until you've been there, done that.