Council passes amended no-wake rules for 4 lakes

Lake Elmo lakeLAKE ELMO — An amended ordinance to ease no-wake rules to boost recreational use of four city lakes was passed unanimously Tuesday by the Lake Elmo City Council.

City Clerk Adam Bell said the ordinance amendments keep the no-wake rule from sunset to noon the following day on Lake Elmo; no wake from sunset to sunrise Monday through Friday and between sunset and 9 a.m. on weekends and holidays on Olson, Jane and Demontreville lakes; prohibits persons from placing buoys on the lakes unless authorized by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office; prohibits boat races on the lakes, and prohibits lakeside property owners from charging fees for swimming, skiing or watercraft lessons unless provided by a non-profit or water safety agency for basic instruction.

Currently, Lake Jane has wake restrictions from sunset to 9 a.m. and the other three lakes have wake restrictions from sunset to noon.

City Administrator Dean Zuleger said the new no-wake rules are designed to open the lakes to more recreational use.

The city’s existing restrictions limit daytime recreational use of the lakes to trolling and slow-moving pontoon boats. Higher-speed activities such as water-skiing and wakeboarding have little time to be on the lakes.

The initial proposed lake-use measure would have brought no-wake regulations on the four lakes in accordance with basic state Department of Natural Resources rules on lake use and operations and allow for more consistant enforcement.

All four lakes have seen increased use by recreational boaters over the last few years, Zuleger said. There are public boat launches on Lake DeMontreville and lakes Jane and Elmo and Lake Elmo borders Washington County’s highly popular Lake Elmo Park Reserve.

However, Zuleger said the proposal has received a mixed reaction among residents along the lakes. He said older residents prefer the current no-wake measure and younger residents want the lakes open to higher speed uses longer.

“Those lakes have always had restrictions on wake and noise to allow homeowners to have more quiet time,” he said. “It’s a generational split, which doesn’t surprise me.”