Boat Congestion On Iowa Great Lakes Topic Of Forum Held Saturday At Arnolds Park

Mon 8-12-2019

(Arnolds Park)-- Congested boat traffic on the Iowa Great Lakes, specifically Miller's Bay on West Lake Okoboji, was a topic at a forum held Saturday at Arnolds Park. Among those on a panel that addressed the matter was lakes area resident David Thoreson who called for more local control...Congested Lakes01 

"And right now we don't have that. Many of us would like to suggest some changes and going all the way up to the state level we just can't really get anything done. So I think some more local control and local input would be a good way to begin."

Mary Skopec, Executive Director of Lakeside Laboratory, says more in the way of research is needed...Congested Lakes02 

"We understand that these are sovereign lakes and that everybody has an access to that lake and has a right to recreate in there. But we need to think about smart recreation. We think people need to be at the table to discuss how does everybody recreate there. If you're on a paddle board can you actually be out on Little Miller's Bay or do you stay off of there because you're terrified of trying to keep up with those boats?"

Mike Hawkins, representing the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says that agency's law enforcement officers can only enforce what's on the books...Congested Lakes03 

"One of our officers said the other day I don't like that loud music any more than anybody else but there isn't a law against that. I can't go tell them tell them to turn that music down, so."

State Representative John Wills who also heads up the Iowa Great Lakes Cleanwater Coalition, says to him safety is the main concern...Congested Lakes04 

"If someone were to have a heart attack in the middle of that slough of boats, how does a safety vehicle get to that person? You know, the golden hour is true for medical emergencies."

The forum was held as part of the Blue Water Festival held Saturday at Arnolds Park.