Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: High water, heavy rain slow boating across Minnesota

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 6, 2014 - 7:58 AM

“It’s going to be a much more mellow Fourth of July,” said watershed spokeswoman Telly Mamayek.

On Lake Minnetonka, if water levels continue to drop, the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District could reduce the wake restriction to boats creating a wake within 600 feet of shore. But the Watershed District doesn’t expect water levels to drop enough to lift all restrictions until at least July 19.

The rainy month and now the no-wake rule have made it the worst year in the 19 years of Ken Pittel’s jet ski rental business in Mound. This weekend, instead of being fully staffed and booked all weekend, Pittel’s dozen Jet Skis at Bay Rentals are sitting idle.

“It’s too high to JetSki; I never thought I’d see that,” he said, closing up his shop early this week. “This is the weekend that makes my summer — and [this year] I can’t rent them. It’s been terrible. Every day, I’m turning people away.”

He’s had to close his shop several times in the past month and although he’s tried to rent Jet Skis on other lakes without wake restrictions, it’s not enough to keep up business.

An ‘amazingly serene’ lake

The story is the same on rivers like the St. Croix. But there are bright spots to the high-water and wake rules.

For Tommy Drummond, kayak and paddle board rentals in Excelsior are up because paddlers don’t have to fight bigger boats and Jet Skis for space. Anglers and fishing guides are relishing the quiet lake. And statewide, drunken-boating arrests and accidents are down. According to the DNR, four people have died in boating accidents, compared to nine fatalities by this time last year.

And, Jacob said, while the no-wake rule and the pumping of untreated wastewater into the lake last month in Mound made people unnecessarily hesitant to book boats, the quieter lake is perfect for swimmers, families or anyone else who wants a more relaxing, quiet ride on Minnetonka.

“It’s so amazingly serene out here,” he said. “It’s obviously unprecedented. There’s a lot of people who have said, ‘I wish it would be like this all of the time.’

“I think people don’t want to go slow, but it’s better than staying home.”


Staff writer Doug Smith contributed to this report. Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141 • @kellystrib


  • related content

  • Video: Business at Lake Minnetonka suffers from no wake restriction

    Saturday July 5, 2014

    Some business owners say the rule has them idle during a normally busy time.

  • Video: Morning forecast: Warmer, more humid

    Saturday July 5, 2014

    Morning Star Tribune Local Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) Weather Video Forecast

  • MnDOT reopens Hwy. 41 bridge as Minnesota River flooding subsides

    Saturday July 5, 2014

    The Hwy. 41 bridge over the Minnesota River in Chaska is now reopen.The state Department of Transportation reopened the bridge,...

  • A man used a paddle board to cross an unusually serene Lake Minnetonka as the holiday weekend began under a no-wake rule.

  • David Polley of Chaska rented a pontoon boat to cele­brate the 14th birthday of his daughter, Olivia.

  • A family of loons, Minnesota’s state bird, swam along the calm surface of Lake Minnetonka on Wednesday.

  • A buoy informs boaters of the rules in force on Lake Minnetonka designed to minimize shoreline damage caused by wakes.

  • A soaked spring

    55 Minnesota rivers and lakes with wake restrictions

    11.36 inches of rain in the Twin Cities — second-wettest June on record

    931.11 feet above sea level — new record for Lake Minnetonka, set June 23

    929.82 feet above sea level — one year ago Saturday

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters






question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question