Four months after an accident on Auke Lake took the life of a Juneau teenager, lake management is being reviewed – starting with public meetings.
Sixteen- year-old Savannah Cayce died June 23rd when her inner tube collided with a jet ski. She was being towed by another jet ski somewhere in the middle of the lake. A police investigation ensued and no charges have been filed.
CBJ Parks and Recreation is holding a series of meetings to hear the public’s impression of lake management.
Parks and Landscape Superintendent George Schaaf says regulations governing motorized use of the lake went into effect five years ago. Since then there’s been a new boat ramp, a bridge across Auke Creek, and the Auke Lake Trail has opened.
In the next couple of years a multi-use path will be built along Glacier Highway, and the wayside park near the boat ramp will be improved.
“When you have a lot of changes on the lake and you also have a regulatory scheme that we’ve been challenged with, we basically looked at it and said this is a good time for us to review and see if the plan is working and if the plan needs to be changed than how should it be changed,” Schaaf says.
After many meetings and lengthy, sometimes emotional debate, the city adopted new motorized use policies in 2008.
Schaaf says two familiar themes were raised at a meeting last week on the UAS campus.
“A lot of the folks who generally saw that there were some issues with motorized use of the lake felt that the lake was maybe not large enough to support the type of motorized uses that are out there right now,” Schaaf says, “and on the other side there were folks there who pretty consistently said it was the only fresh water lake in Juneau that was available for motorized use.”
The open house on Auke Lake is Thursday at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall Egan Room. Then the Parks and Rec staff will come up with recommendations, to be discussed by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. Schaff says any policy changes would have to go through the CBJ Assembly process.