PRAC recommends Auke Lake plan that eliminates towing, jet skis

Auke Lake reflection.

Auke Lake reflection. (Flickr Creative Commons photo by Alaskan Librarian.)

Juneau’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee last night (Tuesday) recommended the CBJ Assembly adopt an Auke Lake Management Plan developed by Parks and Rec staff largely as written.

The PRAC made minor changes to the plan, unveiled in early January. The panel also made an alternative recommendation that would mean fewer restrictions on motorized use, but require additional city funds for enforcement and boater safety education for Auke Lake users.

The recommendations now go to the Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole for its consideration.

The CBJ Parks and Recreation Department has been studying Auke Lake regulations since fall, in response to a July accident that caused the death of a Juneau teenager.

Sixteen-year-old Savannah Cayce was being towed in an inner tube by a jet ski and collided with another jet ski. She died two days later. While the investigation did not result in any charges, the city manager promised a review of management at the small lake.

Current law limits the size of water craft to 16 feet. Motorized use is prohibited between shore and a buoy line; several areas are no wake zones, in fact only 70 acres of the 165-acre lake are considered useable. Refueling is also prohibited.

Enforcement is the problem, according to most of the public comments. Some lakeshore residents say the sunny warm days are so busy that it’s “mayhem out there.” And that it’s not safe.

But many say the lake does not get that busy.

The draft plan would replace vessel size regulations with a 10-horse power limit; no towing would be allowed, more highly visible buoys would be placed and a seasonal park ranger would be responsible for enforcing regulations.

As written, the draft plan would eliminate jet skis, water skiers and wake boarders, and any vessel with a motor above 10 horsepower.

Draft Plan

Memo on plan revisions