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FWP Considers No Wake Zone on Echo Lake
Public hearing set for Feb. 19 in Kalispell
Dodie Veseth, walking to a neighbor's house, has lived on Echo Lake for 30 years and said waves from motorboats is harming her land on the flooded lake. - File photo by Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is holding a public hearing on Feb. 19 to discuss new boating rules on Echo, Abbott and Peterson lakes.

Among the proposed rules is a year round no-wake zone in Causeway Bay on Echo Lake.

The meeting will be held at the Hampton Inn in Kalispell and start at 7 p.m.

The new rules were based on three petitions received from landowners around Echo Lake last fall. For the second time in as many years, a high snowpack and a wet spring led to Echo Lake, just east of Bigfork, flooding for most of the summer.

The flooding has been a nuisance for those who live around the lake and say their lakefront property has been damaged by water and waves. In 2011, a no-wake zone was implemented by Flathead County, but in 2012 no such rule was put in place.

“It was just tearing everyone’s property up,” said Karen Kolar, one of the landowners who submitted the petition.

The proposed amendments include establishing a no-wake zone on Echo, Abbott and Peterson lakes when water is high, or five feet or less from the survey pin located on the deck of the Causeway Bridge; designating the Causeway Bay as a no-wake zone year round; and banning the use of boat wake enhancing equipment on Echo Lake. According to FWP, that includes adding ballast, submersible wings and disproportionate distribution of passenger weight.

The public can also send comments to Martha Abbrescia, Fish, Wildlife and Parks, 490 North Meridian Road, Kalispell, Montana 59901; fax (406) 247-0349; or email to mabbrescia@mt.gov. Comments must be received no later than Feb. 22.
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