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UPDATE - TWO LAKES ADDED: Details on no wake zones on 10 local lakes

Earlier this month, Douglas County Sheriff’s Water Patrol Deputy Mack Carr put up a “No Wake Zone” sign at the public waters access at Lake Cowdry, just west of Alexandria. (Amy Chaffins | Echo Press)

Slow it down – waaaay down – on area lakes. No wake zones are now in effect.

On Tuesday, Douglas County commissioners enacted temporary special controls restricting watercraft wake 300-feet from shore on two more lakes - Geneva and Victoria.

Now there are 10 lakes with no-wake-zones:



-L’Homme Dieu








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

“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.

The no wake zones are in effect until July 30 or until water recedes six inches below the Ordinary High Water (OHW) level. Rush said that measurement is the point at which high water has the potential to cause shoreline and lake equipment damage.

Signs are being posted at the  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.

Water levels are up for most local lakes, so why were these lakes selected for no wake zones?

Rush said, “We’re not picking and choosing favorites. We’re looking at where the need is greatest based on the amount of traffic a lake receives and how long that water level might stay high.

Slower speeds are encouraged on all lakes in Douglas County.

In the meantime, if lake levels stay where they’re at or rise Rush said he’ll address the county board again for another 30 days for no wake zones.

The DNR authorized counties to enact the special temporary controls on lakes.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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