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Slalom Frog

Slalom Course On Public Lake = Problems

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Slalom Frog

Looking the group for your suggestions and personal experiences concerning slalom courses on a public lake and the various problems associated with them. This is the second season that I have put a course up in the lake that I live on. I scouted the area for 2 summers before deciding on where to put the course. I decided on the ideal location considering all of the factors that I felt were important (in no order of importance):

1. distance from other residences.

2. depth of the water.

3. protection from prevailing winds.

4. normal boat traffic.

The location that I ultimately chose does not have a single camp in the entire cove, the closest structure is almost 2000 feet away. It is rarely used by the general boating population. Generally when I speak with someone that has a problem with the course they have similar reasons: I am monopolizing an area of the lake for my selfish, personal benefit, I am going to ruin the loon's nest (over 1500 feet away), I am spoiling the peace and tranquility of the lake, the lake is too small for such a structure (the lake is over 1200 acres), we go too early, I am going to run into a kayak or canoe using this "race course", this past weekend I was told that they were concerned because there was an eagles nest and a beavers nest in the cove and I might harm them.

I have tried patiently and politely to explain the purpose of such a course to anyone that would listen with a half open mind. Explained to them that what is being done is perfectly legal and the course is open to anyone that would like to use it. Though it is my course, it can't be restricted due to the fact that it is on a public lake. I have also tried to explain that just because the course is there it does not mean that other boats can't use the area. A majority of the time the course will not be in use. I really found the ideal pubic lake location that minimizes any intrusiveness that a course can cause on my neighbors on the lake. My friends and I have run into the issue on many different lakes in the area and we are a bit tired of trying to educate the narrow minded people who have their sole interests in mind. I always try to remind them that we all like the lake for different reasons and we have to learn how to share it and be tolerant of each other.

Anybody have anything that they would like to contribute?

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UWSkier

I think you're just going to deal with that no matter where you put your course. There will ALWAYS be people out to get the skiers, even if it means inventing a reason to dislike what you're doing.

Last year, my buddy and I had our portable in. This family in a Glastron kept skiing in big circles around and around our course. We weren't by any means in the only quiet water. At one point, they dropped their skier right at the 55 m gates. We idled up to them and politely said hello and explained what we were up to and asked that in the future they try not to park right at the end of our course when we're skiing it. The woman in the boat, who obviously wore the pants in this relationship, went off on us, saying "You don't own the lake..." bla bla bla. We listened to her unprovoked rant for about a minute when I just interrupted her and said "I almost forgot to say congratulations!" When she said "for what,?" I answered back "on your mother of the year award for teaching your children such great boating etiquette and how to deal with people on the water."

Haven't had to deal with them since that one... :)

Edited by UWSkier

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SunriseH2OSkier

Are you required to have a permit from the DNR (or other governing body), if so do you have one? In Michigan and many other states, you need one to put the course in on a public lake. It doesn't guarantee you won't have problems with the neighbors (just as [email protected]), but it gives you a leg to stand on.

Of course, if you are required to get one but didn't, you're in for a rough time. For one, your neighbors can contact the authorities to force you to remove it. For another, if you try to go get the permit, you may find that (a) the DNR is equally concerned about the wildlife, and/or (B) the permit may be subject to public review, giving those neighbors a chance to express their opposition.

Regardless of your situation, you are far better off trying to make peace. In the end, it's a lot easier for them to make your life miserable than the other way around.

Edited by SunriseH2OSkier

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Slalom Frog
Are you required to have a permit from the DNR (or other governing body), if so do you have one? In Michigan and many other states, you need one to put the course in on a public lake. It doesn't guarantee you won't have problems with the neighbors (just as [email protected]), but it gives you a leg to stand on.

Of course, if you are required to get one but didn't, you're in for a rough time. For one, your neighbors can contact the authorities to force you to remove it. For another, if you try to go get the permit, you may find that (a) the DNR is equally concerned about the wildlife, and/or (B) the permit may be subject to public review, giving those neighbors a chance to express their opposition.

Regardless of your situation, you are far better off trying to make peace. In the end, it's a lot easier for them to make your life miserable than the other way around.

No permit required. The only requirements are that the course has to be at least 200 feet away from shore. I certainly agree with making peace, it's just difficult to rationalize with people who don't understand the entire concept in the first place and they are unwilling to learn. I always try to impress upon them that the course will probably be used less than 1% of the time. I also try to let them know that even if there was not a course I would still be doing the same thing, skiing back and forth.

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88Skier

What lake are you on in Maine?

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VinRLX

I think you're on the right track. Obviously, there are those who don't understand what the course is or is not. Part of their objection is based on exactly that, then they come up with what they consider more rational objections.

No matter how many people you inform, explain, and are polite to, there will ALWAYS be another. You must continue to deal with people in this manner and keep your cool in the face of an antagonist. When the course is there for several years, most will get used to it, though there will still be some who don't like it. Good luck and keep at it.

Matt--I wish I could have seen her ugly face go numb.

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Slalom Frog
What lake are you on in Maine?

Sheepscot in Palermo

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HOskier313

A few suggestions that come to mind based on I too ski a course that is on a public reservoir.

Get the local lake patrol on your side. Just go up and talk to them from time to time. I personally almost always seek ours out as for a.) they won't inspect your boat if you drive up to them and b.) mine actually now will TELL other boaters to please observe a no wake rule if someone is in the course. It is for our safety. (Last week a guy blatentally disregarded this request from a uniformed officer......he was then given a "random" boat inspection - wasted 20 mins. of his time). When other boaters want to complain about you, they are going to find the lake patrol, if you've already established a rapore, he will hopefully tell them the same thing you have, but now its coming from a figure of authority.

Start a ski club - you'll have safety in numbers. If you ever see anyone else free skiing on your lake, approach them with the thought of joining a club. The public course I ski on is owned by a club. It's like 50 bucks a year (as it's a gurantee buoys will go missing or run over and need to be replaced). You don't have to be a member to use the course though.

The few challenges we still face:

- constant boat traffic - most of the time, boats will "do us a favor" by going slow by our course. By slow, I mean 10-15 mph. As we know, this creates the biggest wake!! On average, our sets 6 to 8 passes take about a 1/2 hour a piece because we'll have to wait for boat wakes to clear the course.

- fisherman near or in the course. There is actually a lot of respect between skiers and fiserman on the river. They don't care of the wakeboarders though.

- Idiots driving through the course while we're skiing. We just report these to the water patrol and he takes care of it for us.

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BuggsIsland06vride

Our ski club has really had a go at it with the Corps of Engineers and the public with our now permited ski course. I have never seen people act so childish as when our permit finally got approved 4 years ago. For close to 5 years our ski courses were ripped out of the water by the Corps and we were always told that it was a navigational hazard epecially at night time. We finally put the course on the accusink system so the navigational hazard would not come up again. 2 months later that was torn up and half removed leaving a real navigational hazard. Come to find out some people in the area did not like the course being there and would call on us all of the time. The guy that headed up the Corps for this disctrict at the time was an ***hole and he finally died of cancer or something. A woman took his position and she could have been the nicest person in the world, and come to find out that she used to ski tournaments in florida when she was living there. So we finally got the paperwork filed and she breezed it through with no problem and we have a permited 24/7 course for 5 years. That will be coming up for renewel in one year and we are getting flack again. Our course sits tucked in a small cove, along a road to one side, and private property on the other. This area is very very busy with boaters and fisherman on the weekends, so we do not even ski it often on the weekends. We only ski it during the week when it is like glass, and very early saturdays if there are no BASS tournaments. To make my long story end, you will never please every one so do not try to!!! We have a club member that can't stand when a jet ski runs the course when we are not skiing, he always has to say something to the kid and in turn pisses off another person, and thier parents. They cannot hurt the course at all and at the worse they knock a ball off or something, and how hard is it to snap back on when they are gone. We have two club members that live directly in front of the course and are really always ther to keep an eye out. They are very nice and if we see people skiing throught the course we will approach them and talk about skiing and make new friends and maybe a future tournament skier. As for our member that runs these people away, he thinks the grass is greener on the other side and is moving to a ski lake in Texas somewhere so those that live in that neck of the woods look out! The more people that we educate on skiing the more interest in the community you will get. Good luck and just keep in mind at least you dont have the Corps of Engineers breathing down your neck, along with the public. As far as the "save the animals" "PITA" people out there, we have a bald eagles nest in front of our ski course. It was there before we got there, and there are now two!!! We have seen muscrats chew a ball or two off in the past, and we see loons in the course all of the time. Of course our loons maybe different than those northern loons that they are talking about but I think that they might be a little looney themselves. We just saw a deer cross throught the course last week crossing the cove. I think the animal thing is a load of **** just another excuse to complain about something. Good luck again!!!

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UWSkier

On a pond down here in SE Wisconsin where I used to ski a lot (before gas to drive there got so expensive), we were having issues with a local going out and slicing off all the buoys at night. Took about a month to catch the guy, but the local constable finally got him. As HOSkier313 said, get the authorities on your side and you'll be golden. We did this after the site became the site of Wisconsin State 3 event and Wisconsin Collegiate. These are the largest events in that small town each year and they generate a fair bit of revenue. Money talks... :)

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aneal000

You could always buy a hundred acres and build your own lake...

Anything in a public area will create problems. Good luck though. I like the idea of getting it approved by the local association - get their buy in by letting them approve a location. The arguement that you will ski there with or without the floating balls is very stong. They can either work with you or... well, have an upset resident I guess. Good luck!

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As SunriseH20skier noted earlier, we almost lost our course this Spring after over 20 years of having the course at our site. One neighbor raised enough of a stink that the DNR made us re-apply for our permit. It all boiled down to people sticking their noses into other people's business because they can. Heaven forbid anyone should have any fun at all. Our course had absolutely no impact on the people complaining. We are located in a cove in the corner of our lake and there is 600 acres of open water for people to enjoy.

What I learned is this: if you want to keep the course, swallow your pride and play the politics. Kiss everyone's a##. Otherwise, one phone call starts the political machine rolling and there aren't enough skiers left for you to have a snowball's chance in #@$% to keep the course.

Unless of course you can afford that 100 acre site. Or buy in a ski community. I'm afraid the days of dropping in a course and enjoying our sport are quickly coming to an end.

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