Little Magothy River residents and water skiers are taking turns bashing a plan that would funnel skiers into the tributary on weekends.
Residents fear the plan, which recommends a 6 mph speed limit on nearly every other Magothy River tributary, will ruin their already ailing backyard paradise. The skiers protest that the plan simply does not give them enough water to practice their sport.
Charles A. Wickers, president of the Little Magothy River Association, has asked Bruce Gilmore, director of the state Boating Administration, to place a 6 mph limit on the Little Magothy as well.
During a hearing Wednesday on the proposed Magothy River Vessel Management Plan, Wickers told Gilmore that the Little Magothy is shrinking, its banks eroding and its bottom filling with mud.
"You're not giving the water skiers anything when you try to put them in that little mud hole," Wickers said.
Russ Dwyer, president of the Maryland State Water Ski Federation and a Pasadena resident, said, "We've been dealt an injustice -- all the other rivers have a place for skiers."
The speed limits, if approved by Secretary of Natural Resources Torrey Brown, will go into effect Memorial Day.
The Boating Administration has proposed creating a 6 knot -- or roughly 6 mph -- speed limiton 30 Magothy tributaries either because they are congested with boat traffic, are difficult to navigate or are environmentally sensitive, said Jody Roesler, the Boating Administration's chief of resource planning.
The 6 mph limit will be enforced in the Magothy River's narrow entrance channel and some creeks only during the boating season, April 15 to Oct. 15. Other areas, like Eagle Cove, which is popularwith skiers, will be restricted only on weekends and holidays when boat traffic increases.
However, the plan makes no provision for skiers who want a "controlled" ski area where they could practice slalom skiing on a marked course. The Severn and Magothy Rivers Ski Club had proposed a course on Cornfield Creek.
Skiers complain the restrictions will force them into the Little Magothy or the river's main stem, where high-speed boats and choppy water could endanger their lives.
"We are the only water user group who has not even maintained what we had before this plan," said Frank Dubiel, a Pasadena resident. "Water skiers are, in effect, being told to go somewhere else."
Little Magothy residents said they fear increased jet skiing even more than they do the water skiers.
"It's like having a motorcycle gang driving around in circles in your driveway," said Leon M. Grant, aCape St. Claire resident whose home abuts the tributary.
The restrictions at the mouth of the Magothy also came under fire. Dan Jarzynski, representing the Chesapeake Bay Power Boat Association, said theslowing boats will create huge wakes and will foster more congestion.
"All we're doing is creating a monster," Jarzynski said.
The only support for the plan Wednesday came from Gibson Island residents, who requested the speed limits around the Inner Harbor, Eagle Cove and the Magothy Narrows. Higher speeds and skiing pose hazards to children learning to sail on the calm waters and to the yachts navigating to and from Gibson Island.