Minnesota...the land of 10,000 lakes...the state which invented
waterskiing... has just announced that "the House Environment and
Natural Resources Committee approved a bill that would prohibit the
use of (personal) watercraft on lakes of 200 acres or smaller, unless
local authorities decide to allow them". I quoted this from the Saint
Paul Pioneer Press who also described the goal of this committee as
seeking to "protect the sacred solitude of the lake experience from
the droning acrobatics of personal watercraft". This will affect 87%
of our lakes. The recent legal tactics of states combining forces
against a foe (the tobacco industry) is proving that today's David can
kill Goliath through solidarity. If our state passes this into law,
you may be next. Will this restriction of personal freedom create a
"slippery slope" for wider loses or into other areas? I think we have
been on that slope for a while, asleep.
One mans solitude is another mans imprisonment. I have talked about
this proposal to a few of my ski friends and their first reaction was
"so what, I hate those damn things too". Wrong answer! What is Mr.
Canoeist or Ms. Kayaker thinking of when you are throwing your wake
360's or your tumble turns or creating shoreline erosion? Are they
protected from "the sacred solitude of the lake experience from the
droning acrobatics of ________"? Today, the blank is filled in with
personal watercraft. Tomorrow: skiers, power boats, sail boats, wind
surfers, lakes under 500 acres...whatever upsets their view of what
the world should be.
If I were Mr. Canoeist, a left wing tree hugging retired
environmentalist, I would devise a plan which would use a simple yet
affective, time proven technique to win my views into law. Divide and
conquer. My ultimate goal is to ban all unnatural human disturbances
from nature. The division lines between boaters has been created long
ago and makes this job very easy. Skiers hate fishermen, fishermen
hate skiers, both hate jetskiers, sailboaters hate powerboats, and on,
and on. I would start by picking a group who is both: A) least liked
by the majority of boaters and B) least powerful socially and
economically. Then, I'd restrict the enjoyment of their sport,
creating envy between the classes. After some time passed and perhaps
some statistics were gathered, I would then add "power boats" to the
above blank. Of course, the personal watercraft people would now say
"so what, if I can't, they shouldn't too". And on goes the process,
another step towards the logical conclusion.
The sport I love is enhanced by having small, long narrow lakes to ski
on. I live on such a lake with my neighbors, and we respectfully
share this common resource. However, there is always an exception.
Mr. Canoeist is real and lives on this lake also. He told me once
that when his kids were young, he had a powerboat and would pull them
skiing on our lake. But now as an environmentalist, he knows better.
Hypocrite or senility? The fact that he is political, rich, and has a
lot of time on his hands has me concerned. I suspect most lakes have
such a person. Keep in mind that they are the small minority, and
only get heard by the people we put into office. Draw your own
I don't think of myself as an alarmist, just a man who see's the
madness. If we continue to allow these attacks on others "pursuit of
happiness" and freedom, where will you get support when your time
comes? Is there a solution? As long as we only see the small
picture, no. Please wake up and speak up or you will be next!