Dnr Lowers Speed Limits On Magothy

Water Skiers Say They Are Left High And Dry

October 25, 1991|By Robert Lee | Robert Lee,Staff writer

Saying it wants to reduce shoreline erosion, damage to submerged aquatic vegetation, and the number of dangerous encounters between motorboats, sailors and swimmers, the Department of Natural Resources plans to impose new speed limits and restrictions on Magothy River boaters.

Water skiers, however, are complaining they've been cast aside by the draft plan released earlier this month.

Unlike the Severn River Vessel Management Plan enacted in May 1990 and the South River Vessel Management Plan under review, the Magothy River Vessel Management Plan does not set aside special zones for high-speed, low-wake competitive water-skiing courses.

In addition,recreational water skiers who use regular power boats would lose access to several popular creeks and coves where speed limits will be imposed.

"The plan sets aside plenty of places to sail, plenty of places to swim, but no place to ski," said Russell Dwyer, a Cornfield Creek resident who is also president of the Maryland State Water Skiing Federation. "They tell us to take our boats to the South River or the Severn. I think it's a shame that people who live on the Magothy won't be able to use it anymore."

Dwyer and several other water skiers plan to bring their grievances to a public hearing set for 7 p.m.Nov. 6 at Magothy River Middle School.

Several other Cornfield Creek residents, led by George Weikart, will attend that meeting to ensure the plan stays just the way it is.

"Our creek is too narrow and too shallow for a competitive water-skiing course," Weikart said ofthe 100-foot-wide by 7-foot-deep channel. "In the last few years, the ecology has shown a startling comeback with ducks, geese, SAVs (submerged aquatic vegetation), sea grasses. We do not want to lose that by opening this area up to a competitive water-ski course."

Nearly400 residents have signed a petition opposing a ski course on Cornfield Creek.

Sen. Philip Jimeno, D-31, who represents the Cornfield Creek area and sits on the General Assembly body that approves new regulations, said he supports the petitioners over the water skiers.

"It'll be inconvenient for them to go to the Severn or South Rivers," he said. "But right now, at Cornfield Creek, I support (the DNR's) findings that there are enough competitive water-skiing courses available on other rivers."

Jim Wilson of the Severn and Magothy RiversSki Club said it will be virtually impossible for a Magothy River resident to use the courses on the Severn or South rivers.

Like the Magothy River, neither the Severn nor the South River has public access landings. And due to waves in the Chesapeake Bay, he said, following the water route to get to the other rivers is "impractical" for a flat-bottomed ski-boat.

In the plan, DNR recommends that Anne Arundel County government work with the department to encourage public boating access on the Magothy.

Other recommended changes include:

* Placing two boat-sewage pump-out facilities at Deep Creek and Magothy Narrows.

* Conducting a shoreline erosion study to gauge the effect of wakes on the Magothy River and place more natural shoreline erosion measures in troubled areas.

* Establishing a local mooringregistration program.

* Instituting year-round 6-knot-per-hour speed zones in the Cypress Creek Mouth area, Forked Creek, Cool Spring Cove, Gray's Creek, the entrance channel and upper half of the LittleMagothy River, Mill Creek Dividing Creek, Buckingham Cove, Ross Coveand Spriggs Pond.

* Establishing minimum wake zones in upper Cypress Creek, Sillery Bay, Dobbins Island, Little Island and the Upper Magothy River above Magothy Bridge Road.

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