OPINION: Public hearing needed for big Hayden Lake decisions

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Many of the lake front property owners on Hayden Lake believe we have a right to protect our shoreline property and docks from damage and erosion, help the kayak and paddleboard users needing a safe zone on the lake, and swimmers that are left totally unprotected. It has been clearly reported many times that the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have the equipment or manpower to be enforcing to any minimal degree the abuses and violations occurring on the lake. Mr. Steve Meyer’s comment about simply wanting to educate people as to what 200 feet looks like is simply naive and is why we all have our legal buoys 200 feet from the shore and dock in the first place. Enforcing the use of legal buoys that are truly set at 200 feet makes sense, but to mandate the complete removal of all the buoys and replacing them with only 14 buoys is insane!

Our home is at the most extended point between the Honeysuckle launch/beach and the Hayden Lake Marina. Without a buoy strategically placed 200 feet from our dock, we had a massive amount of boat traffic cut the corner within 50 feet (or closer) of our dock. It is dangerous and damaging to our dock, shoreline and property. We asked the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office and the Idaho Department of Lands for some help and were told they couldn’t assist us and that only commercial operations could apply for permit buoys.

We believe the lake is for everyone, not just the boaters and PWC users. Why not create a 200-foot channel using legal buoys to clearly mark a path from Honeysuckle launch/beach around the Dike Road and continuing to Hayden Marina for use by swimmers, kayaks, paddleboards and fishermen? This would be a solution that would look good and satisfy the myriad of issues that exist today.

Nick Snyder, Kootenai County Parks and Waterways director, indicates the buoys are an eyesore in The Press article. How can one focus on buoys when North Idaho Marine has installed a questionable commercial dock business (and a tremendous eyesore and safety issue) right next to the dike? We all want a beautiful and safe lake and the first impression of our lake is a commercial dock business when entering from East Hayden Lake Road.

I would like to request a public hearing on the removal of the appropriately placed legal and illegal buoys. When the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office is in a position to enforce the current regulations and can appropriately educate every boater entering our lake then, and only then, should consideration be given to removing and replacing the buoys.

I can assure you a legal battle will ensue if I am forced to remove my buoys without a public hearing to air our concerns. We have a right to protect our lake front property.

• • •

James E. Doty is a Hayden resident.

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