Three National Recreation Areas have now reopened their boat ramps to personal watercraft, two years after the National Park Service was required by a court settlement to begin prohibiting the vessels.
Amistad National Recreation Area and Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, both in Texas, recently joined Arizona’s Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in reallowing PWC. Furthermore, another nine NPS units are in the final stages of the rulemaking process to reallow the vessels, and scientific analyses on the effects of personal watercraft are currently underway at two National Seashores.
PWC were banned from National Recreation Areas, Lakeshores and Seashores in 2002 as a result of a 2000 lawsuit between an anti-boating group and the National Park Service. Each NPS unit that seeks to reopen to PWC is required to complete a comprehensive scientific study of PWC impact on the local environment and economy and prepare a rule allowing continued PWC use.
“We were confident that science would once again rule over bias, and confirm that PWC have no unique impact that justifies singling them out for discriminatory bans,” said Jeff Ludwig, Regulatory Affairs Manager at the Personal Watercraft Industry Association (PWIA).
“In fact, in every instance where a scientific assessment has measured the impact of PWC on a public body of water where motorized boating is permitted, modern PWC have been found to be appropriately included in multiple-use waterways management plans,” Ludwig said.
The following chart details national recreation areas, seashores, and lakeshores and their stage in the PWC review process:
- Amistad National Recreation Area (TX) OPEN TO PWC as of May 27, 2004
- Assateague Island National Seashore (MD/VA)OPEN TO PWC as of June 1, 2003
- Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (MT/WY) EA published July 24, 2002; draft rule in progress
- Big Thicket National Preserve (TX) EA published June 11, 2003; draft rule published May 5, 2004
- Cape Lookout National Seashore (NC)EA in progress
- Chickasaw National Recreation Area (OK)
EA published March 10, 2003; draft rule published March 25, 2004
- Curecanti National Recreation Area (CO)
EA published June 13, 2003; draft rule published May 5, 2004
- Fire Island National Seashore (NY)
EA published September 5, 2002; draft rule in progress
- Gateway National Recreation Area (NJ/NY)
EA published May 13, 2003; draft rule in progress
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ/UT) OPEN TO PWC as of May 1, 2003
- Gulf Islands National Seashore (FL/MS)
EA published April 19, 2004; draft rule in progress
- Lake Mead National Recreation Area (AZ/NV) OPEN TO PWC as of April 9, 2003
- Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX) OPEN TO PWC as of May 27, 2004
- Lake Roosevelt National Recreation
Area (WA) EA published April 29, 2003; draft rule published February 26, 2004
- Padre Island National Seashore (TX)EA in progress
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (MI)
EA published July 22, 2002; draft rule in progress psb