Reducing the speed limit in the channel of Partridge and Turtle lakes in Bay Lake Township and the channel of Edna and Fawn lakes in Nisswa was discussed at a Crow Wing County Board public hearing Tuesday.
The county board is looking at amending its water surface use ordinance that it approved last year. Last year it approved the ordinance to help regulate water-ski racing courses and other water uses.
Neal Gaalswyk, boat and water safety supervisor with the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department, said both channels are consistent with the type of channels that are designated as slow/no wake zones.
Roger Bednar, president of the Edna and Fawn Lakes Association, said the area between the lakes is narrow between the shoreline and the lake vegetation.
Bednar said use on the two lakes is high during the summer.
"We have had a number of close encounters between boats," he said. "A no wake or closed throttle zone would make the area a lot safer for all who use the two lakes."
Lyle Steffenson of Nisswa said there are a lot of boats with 115 horsepower motors that go flying by that create problems.
Gaalswyk said the channel is one quarter mile in length and is defined by weeds on one side and land on the other side.
Dick Peterson, who has a cabin on Partridge and Turtle lakes, wrote in a letter to the county that having a "slow/ no wake" sign in the channel of the lakes would help address safety issues.
He wrote, "This channel is very narrow with blind curves that cannot be seen around in advance. A second issue is side bank erosion from boat waves in this very narrow channel, causing the center to fill in. This channel is already very shallow."
Gaalswyk said this channel is less than 50 feet wide and one-half mile long.
Commissioners agreed they would like to take action at the next county board meeting on the amendment.
Commissioner Ed Larsen said it is appropriate to take action on the slow/no wake requirement on the channels because the boat traffic is tough on the lakeshore and bottoms of the lakes.
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