BRC – Overturn The “Motorized Ban” On Waldo Lake!

| March 28, 2012

blueribbon-coalition-logoTwo years ago, motors were banned on Waldo Lake in Lane County, Oregon. This was another move by environmental extremists to deny motorized use on public land managed by the government.

Their strategy is to move the “no access” lines incrementally. Whether it’s banning motors on Waldo Lake or motorized vehicles in public forests, the goal is the same: to deny public use.

But we have a chance to amend or overturn the motor ban on Waldo Lake. The Oregon State Marine Board is redoing its rulemaking because the process two years ago was flawed and they know it.

The Oregon State Marine Board is taking public comments until April 10 on whether or not it should reinstate, amend or repeal the motor ban.

We strongly encourage you to tell the Oregon State Marine Board to repeal the ban or to at least to compromise and require the use of the quieter and more efficient 4 stroke models. The second option does not address the problem the current ban presents to Float Plan operators who may need to land on the lake. We should return to the prior 10 mph speed limit on Waldo Lake, which worked well for more than 40 years.

Banning motors compromises safety for boaters – especially on such a large lake that can see fast changes in weather – and it denies use of Waldo Lake to all but able-bodied paddlers.

There has been no evidence of pollution at Waldo Lake due to motors. Waldo remains one of the purest fresh water lakes in the world.

If we don’t fight to retain access to our public lands and lakes, we’ll lose them. We need you to let the Oregon State Marine Board know that public lakes and lands should be accessible to ALL citizens.

If you want, you can use BRC’s letter generator to send a letter by email to the Oregon State Marine Board, but please know that personal emails are much more effective! The Letter generator has an easy interface for adding additional comments and sending your letter. Please take a minute to click here and send a letter.

You can email the Oregon State Marine Board directly at In the Subject Line of your email, please put: “Motorized Ban on Waldo Lake”

Old-fashioned snail mail is also effective. If you prefer you, can mail written comments, but please make sure they are postmarked by April 10, 2012. Mail written comments to:

June LeTarte, Rules Coordinator
Oregon State Marine Board
P.O. Box 14145
Salem, OR 97309-5056

Here are some key points you may wish to include in your letter or e-mail:

1. The current “ban” effectively denies access to the lake for all but the very able bodied. This lake is 10 square miles of water surface and subject to rapid changes due to weather and wind. Contrary to current myths being circulated, there is a decent fishery in Waldo. The “electric” motors being recommended for use are not intended to be the sole power for a fishing boat on a lake this large.

2. Motors increase safety. Sailboats of any size (such as those that can accommodate sleeping) need auxiliary gas power for emergency situations such as high winds and storms, as well as for protracted periods of no wind, and for docking and anchoring. This is even more important if a sailor is sailing single-handed. As a high-altitude lake, weather conditions at Waldo Lake can change quickly, bringing high winds and waves. A small gas-powered motor provides a margin of safety for sailboats and other boats to be able to return to shore or use a boat to rescue capsized boaters.

3. After more than seven decades of gas motor use on Waldo Lake the water quality of the lake remains as pure as ever, according to government studies and analysis of the lake’s water. Considering how the use of 2-cycle motors has not caused any degradation of Waldo’s water quality, only allowing 4-cycle motors would be a reasonable and conservative approach to protect the water.

4. Some individuals object to the sound of any gasoline powered motor on Waldo Lake. The surface of this lake is not “Wilderness” and never has been. In fact, there is a dam at the end of the lake that at one time even generated power, and the campgrounds around the lake are sometimes occupied by campers with gasoline powered generators. If these intolerant individuals require silence in order to enjoy their experience, they should be given directions to a lake that is surrounded by Wilderness.

5. If the current “ban” on motorized access to the lake be allowed to continue, there may follow efforts to eliminate internal combustion engines from the roads around and past the lake. This incremental “taking” of multiple use land is evidenced on other National Forests, and the idea of it happening on the Willamette National Forest is not acceptable.

For more great information and history about this issue, visit the website of Waldo Lake for EVERYONE!

Thank you for your time and for taking action.

The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib –

As a non-profit, grassroots organization funded primarily by membership dues and donations, we greatly appreciate your support. Visit to help fund our efforts to protect your trails!

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Category: Access Issues, Action Alerts, Land Access

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