Monday, July 13, 2015

A No-Wake Lake Annual Weekend?

The experience over this past 4th of July holiday with the governor ordering no-wake enforcement on the entire lake, has generated a lot of talk around boating circles over the idea of making such a restriction an annual event.

It has it's appeal.

7:00pm July 3rd, 2015 8mm

I've paddled out to the main channel before but only in the off-season.  Although weekdays are far less busy, it is still too dangerous to go any more than a few feet from shore in a kayak, but not this evening.  I saw people on flotillas of water toys just enjoying the water and well beyond shore. While some boats were out, mostly obeying the wake restriction, the lake was serene and almost ghostly quiet. The tension in the air was as palpable as the humidity, between the pent up energy from thousands of holiday visitors, and the anxiety of the home and business owners worrying the wake restriction would be lifted too soon. Forbearance at odds with exuberance on a regional scale.

So, what about this idea of setting aside a weekend or two out of the season as lake wide "wake-free" time?  As I said, it has its appeal.  Pontoon boats ruled that evening as getting around at a decent speed wake free is what they do.  The steady buzz of wetbikes, the punctuating roar of racing engines, and the steady thrum of hundreds of boats struggling down the channel was conspicuous by its absence.  It was tranquil and serene.  What was there not too like?

Did it hurt business? I think the jury is still out on that one.  Certainly some folks may have changed their plans, but the weekend seemed to be as popular as ever.  By Saturday evening of the 4th, the serenity was long gone.

Could it be done?  Sure!  But it would take a concerted effort by all authorities involved to do it, and enforcement would be difficult.  The only real way to know if it would be successful or not economically would be to try it.  I would think maybe the weekend before the Memorial holiday, or the weekend after Labor Day would be a good pilot run.  The lake is still inviting at those times, but not quite as busy.  "No-Wake-Lake" weekends might be a great way to open and close the season.