By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) and San Bernardino County Supervisor Robert Lovingood took action to address proposed boating restrictions on Lake Havasu. They are responding to local concerns regarding a proposal to restrict boating along a popular stretch of the Colorado River near Needles, California.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&W) aims to close significant portions of Lake Havasu within the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge to motorized boating. Cook and Lovingood are requesting that federal regulators extend the public comment period so that local residents can have more time to weigh in on the proposal.
Last month, Rep. Cook joined with several other members of Congress in sending a letter to the USF&W and the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge expressing concern about the proposed restrictions and encouraging a 60-day extension of the public comment period. To view a copy of the letter, click here.
Rep. Cook said, “These proposed restrictions will hurt the local economy. We need to fight back against government dictating how the public can use public lands and waterways. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shouldn’t be able to create new regulations without broad local support from the communities that will be most affected.”
The proposal would prevent water-skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding within the 4,000-acre manmade Topock marsh and on an additional 520 acres of the Havasu Reservoir. Motorized boating is already restricted by the USF&W on 17.5 miles of waterways in the area. The proposed new rules come on the heels of a USF&W closure last year that prohibited motorized boating within the reservoir in a half mile area that had been used by recreational enthusiasts for several decades.
Supervisor Lovingood said, “The public has a right to use and enjoy its public lands – and waterways. We need a balance, but we are seeing far too many instances of government agencies pushing the public out of public areas that the public has every right to enjoy.”
The proposed restrictions are as follows:
- Motors must be 30 hp or less in Topock Marsh.
- All watercraft must travel at no-wake speed in Topock Marsh.
- In other areas of the Refuge, all watercraft must travel at no-wake speeds as indicated by signs and regulatory buoys.
- Personal watercraft will continue to be prohibited in Topock Marsh and in Refuge backwaters as indicated by signs and buoys.
- Waterskiing, tubing, wakeboarding, or other recreational-towed devices will be prohibited on the Refuge as identified by the regulatory buoy lines and will be extended to the southern Refuge boundary.
Cook and Lovingood urged the public to comment on the proposed regulations. The proposal is available and the document can be viewed online at www.fws.gov/refuge/havasu/. The public comment period is set to end May 12. Written comments can be addressed to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, Attn: Draft Recreational Boating CD, 317 Mesquite Ave., Needles, CA 92363; Attn: Boating CD Comments. Comments may be emailed to: Havasu_Boating_Comments@fws.gov.