The land of 10,000 lakes is full of endless opportunities for families to make memories on the water. Minnesota is home to well over 10,000 navigable bodies of water, the majority of which have been dedicated as public waters and have public access points. Unfortunately, local groups of lakefront property owners are threatening your right to enjoy these public waters.
With more lakes than any other state in the continental United States, it’s no wonder we are seeing some water access issues in this state. Minnesota is known for its lakes of many shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, some groups have interpreted this as their right to limit recreation such as wakesurfing or ballasted boats on specific bodies of water. This goes against the spirit of the land of 10,000 lakes and water recreation opportunities for all.
What is happening on Minnesota’s waterways?
- Various anti-wakesurfing lake associations worked with the University of Minnesota Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory to seek state funding for a study on the impact of boat wakes — specifically of wake boats. When the study was not selected to move forward for government dollars, they turned to a crowdfunding model. The study is underway but data has not yet been released.
- Several lake associations and/or individuals have tried to ban or limit the use of ballasted boats or wake boats. At this time, they have not been successful as watersport enthusiasts were able to make their voice heard and keep access to the water open.
- A group called Safe Wakes for Minnesota Lakes has emerged and argues the sport of wakesurfing is breaking existing laws regarding watercraft operation. Additionally, the group has called for legislation restricting use of wake boats and wake enhancing equipment to 1000 feet from shore and 16 feet of water depth. This group is vocal and attends many local and legislative meetings.
We need your help!
Local support and action is critical to preserving access to these waterways. The residents and neighbors in the area, who know and love these lakes and rivers, are our best advocates for preventing unnecessary and damaging regulations.
Often these new restrictions and bans are coordinated quietly, preventing adequate discussion or presentation of data, and not engaging water recreation enthusiasts to weigh in on the public process. The key to ensuring we keep water recreation access open is to grow robust local support so when we are made aware of these anti-water recreation proposals, we can mobilize key leaders to defend and protect our waterways.
How to get involved
There are many ways to participate and help our cause. First, reach out to your local Families for Boating representative for the latest information on current initiatives.
Attend various local gatherings and local government meetings. It is important to show support for boating and towed water sports, as well as keeping informed on the status of new regulations and restrictions.
Finally, and most importantly — get the word out! Tell your friends, family and neighbors about these proposals and encourage them to participate more so the local elected officials understand the impact of these initiatives.We have many documents and instructions in our resources section that can help get your local group organized and ready to speak up to protect water sports access.