Prairieville hearing elicits pro and con views on 'No Wake' action
About a hundred Crooked Lake residents came to the Prairieville Township Hall Monday to express their opinions on a proposed “No Wake” restriction on the west bay of the lake.
A public hearing for residents and boaters offered an opportunity for them to express a range of opinions about the Prairieville Township resolution favoring a “No Wake” zone on the west bay of Crooked Lake.
About 100 people attended the Monday evening meeting in the township hall to discuss the zone that would restrict travel on the water at speeds that would not create waves.
If the state Department of Natural Resources DNR recommends that a ‘No Wake’ limitation be implemented, the township could still vote against it. But, if the DNR says that a such a restriction is unnecessary, the township could not enact the resolution.
The DNR is required, by law, to hold a public hearing, which was made up of three-minute public comments by the members of the community who attended.
Jim Minich, president of the Crooked Lake Association, said there is no need for a “No Wake” zone because current laws already make those actions illegal, they just need to be enforced.
Minich said there already are laws in place to combat those traveling faster than legally allowed on the lake. “Essentially, a couple of kids in the class are acting up and now we’re all going to get punished,” he said.
John Hoek, former Prairieville Township Parks and Recreation board supervisor, said the potential resolution would divide the lake community in two.
“The best approach is to respect and look at both points of view,” Hoek said. “We need to get rid of this win-lose mentality.
“Supporting this resolution would show we, as a lake community, care enough about our fragile lake environment to do something. It would show that we care enough to take action before someone gets injured or worse,” Hoek said, speaking for the ‘No Wake’ proposition.
Some members of the public stood and spoke about Jet Skis ripping through mud flats in the west bay. According to residents, the mud flats are a part of the west bay where a lot of wildlife resides. The water also is shallower in these locations, creating increased hazards for boaters. Residents also spoke of people not respecting wildlife and the need for the backwaters to be protected.
One man mentioned how the sandhill cranes and geese, along with other wildlife, are being affected by the increased high-speed boater traffic in the area.
“The wildlife has survived all these years, so I think they’re pretty resilient,” lake resident Susan Deyoung said.
“I’m not in agreement with the ‘No Wake.’ ” Julie Walen, who lives in the proposed zone, said. “I’ve never felt that the boats are coming to close to my house. The wildlife is more affected by chemicals than boats.”
Others, like Phil Deyoung, are worried about the possibility of the ‘No Wake’ limitation spreading to the entire lake. Some also spoke about the possibility of further declining property values as a result of a ‘No Wake’ limitation.
Other residents talked about how they wanted to see an increased police presence on the lake to combat boaters speeding across the lake.
“I think the DNR and the police need to step in and spend a little more time on our lake,” Paul Yelsma said.
Yelsma’s wife, Julie, spoke about her concerns that a “No Wake” restriction might prompt an adverse response among some lake boaters.
“I think the 'No Wake' could backfire and make people make bigger wakes,” she said.
Yelsma talked about how she saw a boater come up to a house with a “No Wake” sign on it and proceed to create a very large wake in what looked like a response to the sign.
Continued public comment period following the hearing is allowed for the next 30 days, until Aug. 14, when the extended comment period will be closed. Until then, members of the public can continue to submit comments via email to the DNR. Any email submitted during this period will be considered by the DNR in its decision, state officials said.
Send any further comment on the “No Wake” resolution to one of the three following emails with Upper Crooked in the subject line: