LAKE MINNETONKA, Minn. – Groups both in favor and against wakeboarding and wake surfing regulations on Lake Minnetonka are continuing to make their voices heard by the lake’s conservation district.
Current guidelines, established by the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District decades ago, allow wake zones beyond 150 feet of the lake’s shoreline. Activists say that’s too close for newer boats, specifically boats with in-board motors designed for wakeboarding.
During a meeting Wednesday night, those for and against wakeboarding made their thoughts known during a LMCD meeting.
“The number one concern is the environmental impact,” said John Bendt, president of Citizens for Sharing Lake Minnetonka, a group he says he and other neighbors started to put regulations on wakeboarding along the lake.
“The initial criticism was ‘well, they’re just a minority group of people that are annoyed,'” Bendt, who has lived along Maxwell Bay for 38 years, said. “This is a wide-based concern.”
Bendt says he believes a study conducted by the University of Minnesota St. Anthony Falls lab will confirm what he says he’s feared – wake surf boats have engines that disrupt the lake’s bed and shorelines.
The Lake Minnetonka Conservation District says it is weighing a resolution that would increase no-wake zones from 150 feet to 300 feet.
Some groups, like the Midwest Wakeboarding Association, have started online petitions against any changes.
Kevin Kerkvliet, who sells boats designed for the sport at River Valley Powersport and Marine, says the issue isn’t the boat – but the boater. If boaters are being responsible, he says there is no issue.
“It truly revolves around the boater having the knowledge make smart decisions on how they operate their boat,” Kerkvliet said. “We need to have people understand, there’s a right way and a wrong way to operate their boat on this lake.”
The LMCD will again review the matter during a meeting on Aug. 10. Should the matter come to a vote, a representative says a majority of the board would need to approve for the no-wake zone to be increased