I'm in the process of applying for a permit to get a slalom course in on our public lake (large, about 6500 surface acres) in central Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the DNR does not take too kindly to skiiers. I have 2 questions.
1. Does anyone have any tips/advice for this type of request? I've got a great plot with all GPS coordinates of all buoys. All riparian lakefront owners are willing to sign and be okay with having the course. I've talked with USA water ski and received an informational packet that I can hopefully distribute to the DNR.
2. If anyone knows of any courses on public lakes in Wisconsin, that would be great. Especially if you know of who I could contact about them. That way I could show the DNR that there are a many other lakes around the state (many of which are smaller) that successfully have a course. I could also try and get in contact with the people who maintain them (and the permits) for more assistance on what they've done.
I just want to ski
Check with the Central WI waterski show team. I use to ski for them. There home site is the park on DUbay right off off the interstate. They also use to have a portable slalom course but I don't know if they had a permit for it's use.
Where about on Dubay are you triing to put it?
Thanks Slicer, I will look into that. Do you know who I should look to contact from their team?
If you google map this address: "bristol bay ln, junction city, wi" It's in between the shore and the island. I had e-mailed the DNR the following, and this is what I had received as a response.
I was advised to talk to you about placing a slalom course in Lake Dubay in Portage County. Would you be willing to tell me all that I need to do to go about getting the proper permits and authorization? I have plotted the course (with GPS coordinates) and attached that picture to offer you an idea where this goes. I will be able to obtain signatures from all the riparian land owners whose land the course would lie in front of. I also have information from the organization USA Waterski that offers more information about slalom courses and how they are save and do not prevent any navigation to the waterway whatsoever.
PS. You should be able to find where this course is using the GPS coordinates, but for quick reference, this is on the south west side of the lake along highway E.
Thank you for your time,
XXXXXXXXX forwarded your email to me. The applications are on our website to place miscellaneous structures in the waterway (see link below). There is a $500 application fee and a 30-day public notice. However, the Department will review the application once we receive it. My main concerns are with the proposed course potentially obstructing navigation between the shoreline and the island. Obviously there are more people who use Lake DuBay than just you and your neighbors. I do not know what the water depths are through this channel off hand and that will be evaluated if we receive an application. I suggest you include water depths through this channel should you decide to submit an application. I will be working with the local warden and other department staff in the review process.
It also appears Consolidated Water & Power may own the bed in this area and you would need their approval as well to apply if that is the case.
http://dnr.wi.gov/waterways/constructio … tures.html
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me.
I also spoke with them on the phone. I tried to understand under what grounds a permit could be denied, but he was unwilling to give me a clear or decisive answer. I'm planning on going to the DNR office here in Madison to speak with someone in person and try and get more answers before I just lose $500.
Are you trying to install a permanent course, or are you trying to get permission to use a portable course? I would expect the latter to have less red tape to navigate.
We are trying to install a portable course, but we would like to leave it in all the time during the summers, if possible.
andy I have left my course in for 2 days staright with out a permit. I tried the whole permit thing and it was not worth it. Now I just put it out and take it in when I want to use it. Sometimes if the traffic isnt heavy I leave it out and hope the fisherman dont hit it haha.
haha thanks Rob, I may just have to do that.
Does anyone know if there is a law that states you can have the course in for 24 hours? I've heard this multiple times, but I'd like to know for sure...
My main concerns are with the proposed course potentially obstructing navigation between the shoreline and the island.
That's your point of contention. The course is absolutely NOT a hazard to navigation. We're talking about 26 buoys, 6 inches in circumference and 3 inches out of the water, spaced out over about 92,000 square feet.
Of the 92,000 square foot area the course will inhabit, less than 21 square feet are taken up by buoys.
Buoys are frequently used as navigational markers. The buoys used in slalom courses are built to deflect under the bottom of an outboard boat -- you can try to hit them and will probably fail in breaking either the course or your boat.
We are sympathetic to other uses but hopefully a reasonable person can agree that taking up 21 square feet out of 92,000 --- 0.02% --- is not hazardous.
You can also suggest to them that you will take the turn balls out after every set you take. We do this on our course that is on a public lake. We do it more as preventative maintenance but it greatly reduces the size and surface area of the course.
I have heard that 24 hr rule too. I thought I read something on the WI DNR site about that. It might have been sun rise to sunset rule, not a 24 hr rule. I will try and find it again.
Something I suggested to a friend a few years ago that has seemed to work well for him was to make every ball in the course a green ball. This reduced the visibility of the course from a distance immensely, and produced far less neighbor backlash than traditional buoys might have.
Ultimately he replaced the gate buoys with red balls at my insistence (because I couldn't see the damn entrance gates when I skied there), but green balls everywhere else is pretty easy to adapt to. Less visibility = less non-skier unhappiness = less complaints. Same principle as "flying under their radar".
Last edited by Thomas Wayne (Fri, Mar 12, 2010 10:39 AM)
Thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone.
Wade, I also did a little math of my own. If I to put a single rectangle around my entire course (55m balls included in length, turn balls for full width), the course would take up approximately 0.07% of the lake. Pretty minute, no?
The whole course is below the water-- the only part of thelake you're using is the 21 square feet of the buoys. Use 21 feet and your taking up even less.
One other argument you need to have up your sleeve is the safety issue. Here's that argument (in brief):
"Water skiing is already allowed on this lake - always has been - but the typical water skiers that everybody sees out on most public lakes are all over the place, spraying canoes, coming too close to docks or other boats, etc. They're unpredictable in their patterns and they can monopolize the whole lake in their constant search for "smooth" water. This makes them a danger to others and ALSO a danger to themselves - since they can't possibly know where all the shallow spots, underwater obstacles and hidden dangers lie."
"One of the primary purposes of the slalom course is to define - exactly - the path that both the boat and the skier will take... every time. Within a precisely defined rectangular area that measures roughly 855 feet long by 75 feet wide, both the boat and the skier are safely confined to a path that has been thoroughly surveyed and deemed to be safe. Furthermore, every other recreational user of that lake can easily see a clearly laid out area where the skiing takes place. Statistically, the VAST majority of accidents (and resulting injuries) involving water skiers and their tow boats - as well as accidents involving water skiers and other boats (docks, swimmers, etc.) - occur on public lakes outside of a slalom course."
"In other words, history has absolutely proven that skiing within a slalom course is safer (overall) than free-skiing outside the course. What we're trying to bring to this lake, with our slalom course, is greater skiing safety, not less!" [this last statement MUST be made with a straight face, btw]
Naturally you'll have to flesh this out a bit, and polish before presentation. Many statistics can be obtained via the internet, and your state may keep detailed boating safety numbers (California does, for example). You can probably get some statistical numbers from US Waterski, INT, and other organizations as well.
It's been said that ""There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." (Benjamin Disraeli - attrib.), but in this case you're presenting a real truth. The majority of slalom course injuries happen in practice and are very rarely reported at the level that makes it into public record. On the other hand, when some Weekend Wally drives his boat (and skier) into a canoe full of nuns it makes national news. Take advantage of this fact to drive home the very real point that a slalom course on your lake will bring a "greater measure of safety" to the overall boating/skiing activities.
Last edited by Thomas Wayne (Sun, Mar 14, 2010 4:22 PM)
For anybody that is concerned with putting in a course in Wisconsin, this is what happened in the end for us. We decided to pass on the permit process as things were not looking bright in that direction, so we began to pursue permission to put the course in on a temporary basis. After jumping around between DNR people for a while, we finally received permission under the following guidelines sent from the DNR:
I would need more information on the type of portable slalom course you are referring to before I can give you a definitive answer. However, there has been a legal determination for placement of certain types of portable slalom courses. If your portable slalom course meets the standards from that legal interpretation, then that it may be possible that no permits to place would be necessary if the following conditions were met.
1. The portable slalom course uses minimal and portable/removable anchors to hold it in place.
2. The portable slalom course was placed immediately prior to the use of the course and removed immediately after the use was completed. This means if the course is placed and used in the morning it would need to be removed if any kind of break was taken, even if the intent was to use the course later in the day.
3. Placement of the portable slalom course did not negate the user's and boat operators from the normal boating laws. All boating laws apply.
4. Placement of the portable slalom course does not reserve the water for slalom course use only.
5. Any of the public could use the course, boat through the course, or anchor and fish within the course at any time, following all applicable boating laws.
If these conditions cannot be met, or the users are unwilling to abide by these conditions, then a full permit process is required. The permit process is very lengthy and complicated.
If anyone has any questions or would like the full e-mail conversation for their own use, please PM me. Otherwise, I hope this information is helpful for anybody else looking to do the same thing.
That is brutal, I guess they don't really want you skiing there.
I really feel for you.
My suggestion is to sink it every night and Hook the buoys up when you get out the next day, you would only have to attach the six arms every time. It wouldn't take that long, We do it with one side of our course to get it out of the way. If it dropped 4 or 5 feet no one would ever know it was there except you.
Attach a clorox jug to each arm, fill with water and when you take the buoys off it should sink. It might take some adjusting to get it just right, but it will work.
Then just go out and catch an arm with a gaff hook, loop the bouy on, repeat six times and it is floating and you are skiing. You might have to make a couple of easily attachable guide buoys that you could remove to help it sink.
Anyway you try it, best of luck to you. It is a real bummer you have this problem.