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RE: Lake Lowell Access

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  • Tom von Alten
    Steve Baker sent me his account of the incident at the Lake last week, and gave me permission to forward it to these groups. It seems that from the refuge
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 27, 2006
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      Steve Baker sent me his account of the incident at the Lake last
      week, and gave me permission to forward it to these groups. It seems
      that from the refuge manager's point of view, kitesailing, at least,
      IS INDEED BANNED. (Perhaps if people hadn't tried to tow
      parasailors behind motorboats, they wouldn't have had a knee-jerk
      reaction to the concept? Who knows.)

      Windsurfing MAY BE banned ("no permission is granted"), but is at
      least in limbo, along with motor toys. I have no idea how ripe or
      valid any of the cited "lawsuits from both sides" might be.

      I'm open to suggestion for the best way to coordinate a response
      that produces the result we want -- lake access for our
      environmentally friendly, low-impact sports.
      Tom von Alten http://fortboise.org

      > -----Original Message-----
      > Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2006 7:26 AM
      > Subject: Sailing report
      > Steve Baker, sbakerdvm@..., and I read your letter on the
      > snowkite group site. I'm unable to get on that group so far, so I'm
      > sending this on (another account); you can write back to my email
      > address.
      > I was the one prohibited from launching (it still hurts; the wind was
      > so nice) by Todd Fenzl, the deputy manager from the refuge. I called
      > and had a nice talk with Elaine Johnson, the refuge manager. She was
      > very patient, articulate, and well informed concerning the matters of
      > this and other refuges' rules and regs. She's also not in favor of
      > motorboats vs. human powered crafts, but Lake Lowell is partially
      > funded by selling duck stamps, and so hunting for certain species at
      > certain times is allowed. The fight against motorboats ands jet skis
      > is beginning, but she feels it will be a monumental task, and she
      > faces lawsuits on both sides of the issue (from the rednecks and the
      > conservationists).
      > Basically, the refuge exists to protect migratory routes and nesting
      > areas; any activity on the refuge must also support that; in some
      > twisted way, hunting supports that (see above). The other issues are
      > education, fishing, species conservation, and I forget the other two
      > (she referred to them as 'the big six').
      > Motorboats and hunting go hand in hand; sailing and canoes help fund
      > and help educate, but I could not convince her that riding a
      > surfboard either under sail or kite powered was another way to
      > educate oneself on the complexities of the grebe mating display. She
      > also pointed out that the air above a refuge is controlled airspace,
      > and kites with people dangling under them is a violation of this rule.
      > I asked her if it was futile to pursue this further; she said the
      > final decision would have to come from far above her or the regional
      > office; we both called USFWS law enforcement for their take, and they
      > agreed. According to them, there's no benefit to having kiters and
      > windsurfers there, so no permission is granted. So that leaves a
      > campaign with the National Office, a branch of which is at NIFC, but
      > only the fire branch. They would give us more information, or if
      > anyone knows some senators...?
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