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Hubbard County to regulate waters in newest state areas

Lakes such as Lester Lake are proposed for new surface water regulations. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

BY Sarah smith

Hubbard County will take early steps to regulate surface water use on the county’s new recreation areas.

Lessard Lake Scientific and Natural Area and LaSalle State Recreation Area will get boating regulations in the near future.

DNR Fisheries manager Doug Kingsley asked for the regulations so that when the areas become better known and used more by anglers, the rules will be well established.

Both lakes were privately owned, so there’s been relatively sparse boat traffic.

The Lester Lake area was dedicated in July 2012. The 67-acre lake would be subject to electric motors only under the proposal. The area is only 440 acres, south of Kabekona Lake.

LaSalle was acquired in late 2011 as an adjunct park to Itasca with rustic accommodations. The 238-acre lake, at a depth of 213 feet, is the third deepest inland lake in the state. The SRA is 1,200 acres. A 10 mph speed limit is proposed for this lake.

Board chair Cal Johannsen said he’s reluctant to impose regulations at a time when they’re not necessary now and may not be necessary for years.

“We’re anticipating increased use of those lakes,” Kingsley said.

“If we make ‘em county ordinances we have to enforce ‘em,” Johannsen worried.

Sheriff Cory Aukes expressed no preference as to whether his department wanted oversight responsibility.

“These are pretty valuable resources,” board member Greg Larson said. “We should do what we can to protect them.”

Commissioner Kathy Grell echoed Johannsen’s sentiments.

“I hate putting in regulations,” she said.

But on the theory that it’s easier to give boating rights than to take them away, the board voted to proceed with regulations. Boaters accustomed to certain privileges on both lakes would be angry if use was to be scaled back in the future. Board members reasoned it would be easier to enact the regulations now rather than later.

Kingsley said LaSalle has a deeply sloped shoreline that is conducive to erosion with wave action from boats. A 10 mph speed limit might curtail the erosion issues with most boats, he said.

The issue will go before the county’s Planning Commission in June. Kingsley suggested the best approach would be to append a new ordinance to the water surface ordinance in place regulating First, Second and Third Crow Wing Lakes.

“Now is as good a time as any,” Johannsen said. “I don’t know if it’s enforceable.”

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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