The Green Mt Water skiers(GMWS) are a USA Water Ski sanctioned club founded over 40 years ago. Our members are traditional water skiers. We do not have any Wake Board members. We have worked with the Legislature to enact water ski bills, and we were involved with the then Water Resources Board in the development of the Use of Public Waters Policy (UPWP) in the 90s which has become the Use of Public Waters Rules (UPWR). The WRB felt a comprehensive management plan was needed due to increasing conflicts and Petition submissions. The WRB surveyed all public waters to determine what were the existing uses and where those uses predominated. The WRB drafted the UPWP and held several public hearings across VT for input. The adopted UPWP and current UPWR key components are:
* When conflicts develop on public waters, petitions are required to document that they contacted affected users and user groups, and document the efforts to resolve the conflict or the Petition would not be accepted.
* Separation and/or time of day was to be considered.
* The minimum acreage size for high-speed 5 mph motorboat use is 75 acres.
* The minimum acreage size for personal watercraft (PWC) use is 300 acres.
* Petitions could request allowing high-speed use under 75 acres, and allow personal watercraft (PWC) under 300 acres. Successful petitions were granted for slalom course skiing on Lake Lamoille and PWC on Wrightsville Reservoir.
The GMWS does support amending UPWR to include Wake Boating as an existing use since Wake Boating did not exist in the 90s. The Responsible Wakes Petition (RWP) proposes using a 1,000 ft from shore, a 20 ft depth minimum protection zone, and Wake Sport Zones as the tools to be utilized. The data presented is comprehensive. The GMWS does not refute the documentation provided; however, we feel the 1,000 ft from the shoreline would be very difficult to enforce and does not fit within the existing framework of the UPWR for conflict resolution and management. The GMWS requests amending UPWR as follows:
* Establish a minimum acreage size to allow Wake Boating. Options on size limitations should be included in the DRAFT Amendment for public comment. For example 300, 500, and 700 acres. The Waterbury Reservoir Petition included three options to limit high-speed motorboat use. Based on public comments the middle of the road option 2 was adopted. The RWP does mention that Wake Boating all of the 19 lakes larger than 500 acres that allow over 5mph high speed use the RWP proposed characteristics to support Wake Sport Zones.
* Get input from the Marine Division of the Department of Public Safety on establishing a distance from shore of 1,000 ft and a minimum water depth of 20 ft for Wake Boating as per RWP. Allow for waivers for the 1,000 ft providing documentation demonstrating that shoreline erosion, personal property, depth greater than 20 ft for water quality, and public safety will not be impaired. Currently, waivers can be approved by the Marine Division of the Dept. of Public Safety for the 200 ft requirement for motorboats exceeding 5 mph.
* Conduct several Public Hearings on the DRAFT Amendment at various locations. Provide a one-year waiting period after the Amended Rules are adopted to allow for Petitions for Wake Boating on Public Waters under the minimum acreage established by the Rules.
* Establish a citizen Public Waters Panel within ANR that would review Petitions and make recommendations to the Secretary. ANR could request applications from the public to get a diverse group of recreational users. Panel size TBD.
The GMWS supports fair management and environmental stewardship of our Public Waters. A Wake Boating minimum acreage size would be consistent with the current management and conflict resolution policies of the UPWR. The WRB determined minimum acreage sizes for high-speed motorboat and PWC uses where those uses did not predominate. Minimum Acreage size limits prevented numerous petitions from being filed to limit high speed and PWC uses. This process is fair since it still allows for petitions to limit high speed and PWC uses on Public Waters over the size minimum. History has proved the WRB was right on target with a fair process.
Bruce Epstein, President GMWS