FWP Seeks Comment on New Option for Wake Regulation Change on Lake Alva
By angelamontana

Posted: September 4, 2013

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is seeking public comment beginning September 5 on an alternative proposal for a watercraft wake regulation on Lake Alva.

In June, FWP sought public input on a proposal to change the current “no speed restriction” for watercraft on Lake Alva to a regulation that would require operation at a no-wake speed year-round. No-wake means a speed where there is no “white water” in the immediate track or path of watercraft.

FWP received approximately 200 comments on its original proposal, and after analysis asked the Fish & Wildlife Commission to seek additional public input on an alternative option.

The alternative up for consideration would allow for watercraft to operate free from a wake-speed restriction from Aug. 1 through Labor Day. During the rest of the year, any type of watercraft could operate on the lake as long as they use a no-wake speed.

FWP Region 2 Fisheries Manager, Pat Saffel, says this new alternative will be considered alongside the original proposal for all watercraft to use no-wake speed year-round and the option to leave watercraft wake unregulated, as it is under the current regulations.

“Public concern regarding existing boating regulations on Alva prompted us to consider changes initially,” Saffel says. “The goal with a regulation change is to provide diverse boating opportunity in the Seeley-Swan area. The no wake alternatives would allow opportunity for those in search of a slower and quieter boating and fishing experience on a larger, accessible lake.”

Comments submitted during the original comment period will still be considered and don’t need to be resubmitted, but those wishing to comment on the new alternative–to not limit wake speeds from August 1 through Labor Day–must do so from Thursday, Sept. 5 through Friday, Sept. 20.

A copy of the proposed alternative may be obtained by mail from Region 2 FWP, 3201 Spurgin Rd., Missoula 59804; by phoning 406-542-5500; by emailing fwprg22@mt.gov; or online at fwp.mt.gov under “Public Notices,” beginning Sept. 5. Comments may be made online or may be directed by mail or email to the addresses above. Comments must be received by FWP no later than September 20, 2013.

Public input will be used to shape FWP’s final recommendation to the Fish & Wildlife Commission. The Commission is expected to make a final decision at its November 14 meeting in Helena.

(Report by Montana FWP; Cover photo: davidmarx.photoshelter.com)

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