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Small town, small lakes — and people calling for no wakes

Town of Dayton residents join calls to ban or restrict wake-enhanced boating
Posted at 10:16 PM, Apr 16, 2024

WAUPACA COUNTY — A vocal group of Town of Dayton (population 2,661) residents petitioned the town board to enact a ban or restrictions on wake-enhanced boating Tuesday night.

  • Proponents of a ban say wake boats cause erosion of the shorelines of local lakes, and that they inhibit the safety of other recreational lake users
  • Opponents say wake boats are being unfairly singled out, and that a better solution would be altering wake hours or water ski hours
  • Dayton residents easily passed a series of advisory motions Tuesday night, calling for the board to submit a ban proposal to the DNR, and hold an official public hearing on the issue
  • The town boards of Dayton and Farmington have a joint meeting scheduled for Thursday to discuss the issue — after Farmington rescinded a wake boating ban this month

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

We're in the town of Dayton in Waupaca County — where residents are joining calls from a neighboring town to ban or restrict boats with big wakes on local lakes.

The town of Farmington passed an ordinance earlier this year to ban wake-enchanced boating — then rescinded it earlier this month, saying it needed to collaborate with Dayton.

Now Dayton residents are petitioning for something similar.

"These lakes — using this technology; it's just killing our lakes," said Casey Plunkett, president of the Spencer Lake Association.

"That is crazy," Dan Johnson said. "Those lakes are just too small. Over and over, I've heard exactly the same thing."

The organizers at the packed meeting — some wearing merchandise like this — say they surveyed hundreds of local residents and lake-users, with 90+ percent supporting a ban.

They also admit there was some opposition, with people writing things like:

"Wake boats are being inappropriately singled out"

"Lack of proof"

Or giving alternate solutions like:

"Establish 'no wake' hours"

"Expand water ski hours"

But the supporters of a ban easily passed advisory motions Tuesday night, recommending a ban proposal be submitted to the DNR, and recommending a public hearing and vote on the issue.

"Protect our lakes, and the safety of those accessing these lakes," Plunkett said. "That's what we, the people here, are asking you to consider."

They claim they are not opposed to wake boats — just to wake boats on the Chain'O'Lakes and other small lakes in the town.

The town boards of both Farmington and Dayton are having a joint meeting right here at the Town of Dayton hall, Thursday at 4 p.m., to discuss wake boating.