Boating News Clips 2000

  What's happening for boaters?

USA Today March 22, 2000


Watercraft don't float for some parks
By Traci Watson,

   The National Park Service said Tuesday that it is banning personal watercraft from more than a dozen parks and will allow local park officials to decide whether the craft can remain at 21 others. Some park visitors complain about the smelly exhaust and the noise from the powerful machines, of which the Jet Ski is the best known. They also say the craft pollute the water and disturb wildlife. But defenders say they have as much right to enjoy the parks as anyone else, and argue there are better ways to manage the problems than a ban. Personal watercraft are used in roughly 30 national parks.
   The new rule has three different provisions: Thirteen parks, including Biscayne (Fla.) National Park and Cape Hatteras (N.C.) National Seashore, will no longer allow visitors to use personal watercraft starting April 20. Some of them placed a ban on the craft before Tuesday's announcement. Eleven parks will have their fates decided by their superintendents, but park officials must take public comment into account. This group includes Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts and Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida and Mississippi.
   Ten parks, mostly in the west and home to lakes with a tradition of motorized use, will remain open to personal watercraft if the parks' superintendents approve. The park service expects watercraft use in these parks, like Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona and Nevada, to continue. Personal watercraft can be ridden in the parks in the last two categories during a two-year grace period, unless park officials decide the vehicles should be banned before the end of the grace period. Environmentalists said they were so disappointed by the rule that they'll probably sue. "They don't have the authority to exempt those 21 parks," said Sean Smith of the Bluewater Network.
   The personal watercraft industry reacted more cautiously. While disappointed that the rule leaves open the possibility of a ban at 21 parks, an industry spokesman held out hope of maintaining use there. "We're not contemplating legal action at this time," said Larry Lambrose of the Personal Watercraft Industry Association . "We look forward to working with the park service."


What National Parks are affected?



Continued use indefinitely:

Glen Canyon (Arizona-Utah)

Lake Mead (Arizona-Nevada)

Amistad (Texas)

Lake Meredith (Texas)

Bighorn Canyon (Montana)

Chickasaw (Oklahoma)

Curecanti (Colorado)

Gateway (New York)

Lake Roosevelt (Washington)

Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity (California)


Continued use for 2-year ''grace period'' during which parks must obtain formal approval from Washington headquarters if use is to go beyond the two years:

Assateague (Maryland-Virginia)

Cape Cod (Massachusetts)

Cape Lookout (North Carolina)

Cumberland Island (Georgia)

Fire Island (New York)

Gulf Islands (Florida-Mississippi)

Padre Island (Texas)

Indiana Dunes (Indiana)

Pictured Rocks (Michigan)

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (Pennsylvania-New Jersey) Big Thicket National Preserve (Texas).


The areas where Jet Skis are being used, but no longer will be allowed under the new regulation:

Biscayne (Florida)

Isle Royal (Michigan)

Glacier (Montana)

Olympic (Washington)

Grand Canyon (Arizona)

Canyonlands (Utah)

Voyageurs (Minnesota)

Canaveral (Florida)

Cape Hatteras (North Carolina)

Golden Gate National Recreational Area (California)

Apostle Island (Wisconsin)

Sleeping Bear Dunes (Michigan)

St. Croix National Scenic Riverway (Wisconsin and Minnesota)


Where Jet Skis previously were banned:

Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming-Montana-Idaho)

Everglades National Park (Florida)

Buffalo National River (Arkansas)

Ozark National Scenic Riverways (Missouri)




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