MARSHALL - A public hearing Tuesday drew voices both for and against restrictions on boat motor use on West Twin Lake. Despite some arguments that it would keep visitors away, the Lyon County Board voted in favor of an ordinance that would prohibit the use of gasoline powered motors on the lake.
East and West Twin Lake, located in Shelburne Township south of Florence, are the site of planned development for a county park and campground. Part of that development would include realignment of a road and improved water access on West Twin Lake.
Under the proposed ordinance, the use of gas-powered motors would not be allowed on the lake, said Lyon County planning and zoning administrator John Biren. Electric motors, like trolling motors, would still be permissible. If approved, the ordinance would take effect in time for this year's fishing opener.
Chuck Obler, a fisheries specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said the ordinance would help to protect the lake. West Twin Lake has a wide variety of native water plants, no problems with algae blooms, and very clear water - a rare profile for a southwestern Minnesota lake, Obler said. Wakes and heavy boat activity could damage the vegetation and stir up sediments in the water.
Several members of the public also weighed in on the proposal. Carmen Christensen, a landowner with property near East Twin Lake, said he thought West Twin Lake's condition should be preserved, but wasn't sure about the ordinance.
"It definitely limits the use of the lake," Christensen said. Instead, he said, making West Twin Lake a no-wake zone might be a good idea.
Steve Tinklenberg, a Sioux Falls, S.D. resident with ties to the area, spoke out against the ordinance. Tinklenberg said he has enjoyed water skiing on West Twin Lake for more than 10 years, and also works to keep it clean. He doubted that boat motors would cause problems at the lake, partly because traffic is so low.
"To close it to the people who use it it just seems counterintuitive to me," Tinklenberg said. He suggested that the county could instead set limits on the number of boats permitted on the lake at one time.
Jeff Bakker, a property owner on the west side of the lake, also had some doubts over whether boaters would threaten the lake.
"Everybody who has a boat knows that motors and weeds don't mix," Bakker said. Higher water levels and shoreline damage from the construction of a culvert near the lake might pose a bigger threat, he said.
County commissioners said some good points were raised in the hearing, but also noted that the new park might increase boat traffic considerably. After discussion, commissioners voted to approve the motor restrictions.