Measure would ban personal watercraft

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, May 07, 2007

I object when a small, elitist group makes decisions that will ultimately effect everyone in our community. This might happen at tonight's Assembly meeting.

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Juneau, please do not allow the only freshwater lake open to motorized watercraft be shut down by an unfair ordinance. Even if you don't ride a personal watercraft, wake board or water ski today, maybe you, your friends and family may like to try in the future.

If passed with recent amendments, the proposed ordinance will ban all watercraft on Sundays and Mondays, as well as impose excessive fines. The ordinance also outlaws the use of watercraft equipped with carburetors after Jan. 1, 2008. For many watercraft users, this amounts to a total ban. The ordinance takes away our freedom to use any motorized watercraft on a state-owned, public body of water.

The American Watercraft Association is the nation's largest organization representing personal watercraft owners and enthusiasts and is no stranger to this type of no-access thinking. The association has been fighting against this kind of discrimination at the state and federal levels, and our little town of Juneau has become no exception. Members of our local anti-access group, Friends of Auke Lake, have, over the past year, represented themselves as lake homeowners. What they are is a small group of residents who would like nothing better than to have all motorized watercraft prohibited from Auke Lake. If you are a longtime resident, you know Juneau residents have been enjoying Auke Lake for almost 50 years.

Recently, personal watercraft users have been painted by Friends of Auke Lake as loud, destructive, disrespectful and delinquent "jet skiers bent on the destruction of Auke Lake." The vast majority of personal watercraft users on Auke Lake are families with children, who enjoy the warm, safe fresh water found in Auke Lake. Being a longtime user of the lake, I am very aware of how one out-of-control user can give us all a bad name. But it is inconceivable to me to punish all users for the bad behavior of a select few.

None of the watercraft riders on Auke Lake are against fair rules and boundaries. We are, however, opposed to unfair closures and outright bans without any documented proof of pollution or negligence on the part of riders. Once our right to enjoy Auke Lake is taken away, we may never get it back.

Angela Miller

American WatercraftAssociation member,Alaska Personal Watercraft Club member


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