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High lake levels force boating restrictions; no-wake zone designated on Alexandria-area lakes

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. – Slow it down – waaaay down – on some Minnesota lakes this weekend. No wake zones are now in effect in the Alexandria area and remain in place in other areas because of high water.

On Tuesday, Douglas County commissioners enacted temporary special controls restricting watercraft wake 300-feet from shore on these eight lakes: L’Homme Dieu, Carlos, Darling, Cowdry, Brophy, Louise, Ida, Rachel

“Further than 300 feet out (from shore), those watercraft can operate at the speeds they’re allowed for waterskiing and tubing,” said Douglas County Land and Resource Director Dave Rush.

“We want folks to get out on the water bodies, but as they’re coming in and out of docks, visiting folks, putting their watercraft in and out, they need to remember 300 feet from shore they need to be operating at a no-wake speed,” he said.

Implementing temporary no wake zones is an effort to limit shoreline erosion.

Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog said Wednesday that no-wake restrictions, which were put in place June 18, have been lifted on Eagle Lake, Diamond Lake, Elkhorn Lake and on the Little Crow River in New London.

Hartog said Green Lake will now have a 1,000-foot no-wake zone advisory from shore (approximately three football field lengths).

Hartog said other lakes will have a 500-foot no-wake zone advisory from shore.

Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner said no-wake restrictions recently placed on all Stearns County lakes have been lifted effective Wednesday.

The Douglas County no-wake zones are in effect until July 30 or until water drop 6 inches below the point at which high water has the potential to cause shoreline damage.

Signs are being posted at the eight lake accesses and the no-wake zones will be enforced by Douglas County Sheriff’s Water Patrol and Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers.

A no-wake zone violation is a petty misdemeanor and violators will be ticketed. The fine is $125.

“We really want to encourage people to either get your boat out into the middle and do what you’re going to do or you really need to be crawling along at a very, very low speed. It doesn’t take much for a boat to create a wake,” Rush said.

High water and potential shore erosion forced the Ida Lake Association Board of Directors to cancel its annual Fourth of July Boat Parade.

“I know some people aren’t going to like the no-wake zone restrictions… but it’s something we have to sacrifice for the long-term effect on the shoreline. It’s a small price to pay,” said Jeff Johnson, president of the Ida Lake Association. “We have a responsibility to leave the lake a better place for future generations.”