Lake Minnetonka leaders hear pros and cons of wake boats

The controversy surrounding the boats has been going on for several years.

MOUND, Minnesota – It’s that time of year when the weather warms up and people hit the lakes.

Boating is so popular in Minnesota that it has a $3 billion economic impact.

Wakeboats are particularly trendy right now, but critics say they’re noisy and bad for the environment. But how to keep everyone happy is always up in the air.

The Lake Minnetonka Conservation District (LMCD) is considering new rules for wake boats that generate waves surfers can ride.

The LMCD held a listening session for the first time on Wednesday evening.

“What we’re finding is that wake surfing is really a big disruptor on our lake and probably one of the biggest disruptors we’ve ever seen,” said John Bendt, who leads a neighborhood group concerned about the impact on the lake.

Bendt calls the current regulations outdated and suggests new rules governing further distance from shore and time slots for boats to operate.

“Is it fair that the less than 1% are unwilling to share water with other users,” Bendt asked.

He also cites a recent University of Minnesota study who discovered that boats can create waves five to 13 inches higher than surf boats without a wake, and that it takes at least 500 feet for its wake to dissipate.

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“The U of M study was launched with a singular, narrow focus to target a specific type of boat because that’s where the funding was for them,” said Michelle Mueller, owner of Minnesota Inboard Water. Sports. “We shouldn’t put our eggs in this basket.”

Boating industry representatives say wake surfing is family-friendly and safe.

To help “calm the waters,” they say they have already adopted what they call basic tenants, including asking boaters to stay 200 feet from shore, limiting repetitive passes and providing one-on-one training for newcomers. boat buyers.

“These common courtesies are the ones I try to instill in individuals because they’re a few bad apples that destroy everyone,” said Jeremy Wahlberg of River Valley Marine.

Boating representatives argue that closing the lake to wake up boaters or penalize them will only drive them to sightsee elsewhere.

The listening session lasted for several hours, with the board noting that it may hold another, but has not yet planned to make a decision.

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