Truckee City Council mulls Jet Ski restrictions at Donner Lake |

Truckee City Council mulls Jet Ski restrictions at Donner Lake

TRUCKEE, Calif. (AP) – Jet Skis and other personal watercraft would face new restrictions at Donner Lake under a proposal to be considered this week by the town council.

The council on Thursday will review a subcommittee report recommending a sweeping set of speed restrictions for all boats, including personal watercraft.

A council subcommittee took up the issue earlier this month because of an expected increase in the use of personal watercraft at the Sierra lake this summer.

Some residents called for a ban on personal watercraft, saying Donner Lake now will be teaming with them because of a ban that goes into effect Tuesday on most personal watercraft at nearby Lake Tahoe.

But other residents contend any new restrictions would violate their rights.

The subcommittee is recommending a measured approach, saying the speed limit legally must apply to all boats, not just personal watercraft.

The panel’s report calls for a 35 mph speed limit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays with a 10 mph limit the rest of the day. It also calls for a 10 mph limit all day Sunday and a 35 mph limit on weekdays.

The subcommittee wants strict enforcement of the speed limits and restrictions on the number of personal watercraft rentals.

Some residents criticized the recommendations, saying they don’t go far enough to deal with the water and noise pollution caused by personal watercraft.

Two-stroke engines, which power most personal watercraft, release up to a quarter of their fuel unburned into the water. Donner Lake is a water source for many people in the area.

Other residents expressed safety concerns, saying a disproportionate number of personal watercraft are involved in boating accidents.

”I’d like to see all the personal watercraft banned from the lake,” said Tom Alden, general manager of the LochLeven Lodge at Donner Lake. ”They’re a public nuisance.”

Ryan Hartman, owner of Anytime Power Sports in Truckee, strongly opposes any new restrictions.

”And they (town council) don’t have the authority to ban them,” he said. ”They don’t own that lake. The state does.”

Any regulations approved by the council must reviewed and certified by the California Department of Boating and Waterways.

A ban on personal watercraft is at the extreme end of actions the council will consider, said Dennis Crabb, Truckee’s attorney.

Other options range from adopting noise standards to limiting hours of operation to doing nothing at all, he said.

”They’re kind of mulling over all of these options,” Crabb said.

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