After attending another meeting about recreation at Lake Nighthorse on Dec. 8. I left with the impression that water skiers and boaters will get everything they want. The golden eagles that nest atop Carbon Mountain and the elk herds, deer and wildcats that reside in Ridges Basin will just have to put up with the noise. If the animals dont like it, they can go somewhere else.
Joy Lujan, a National Park Service community planner, and the representatives from DHM, a consulting firm, are attempting to create a recreation plan based on public input. They have made a serious effort to find out what the public wants.
In my opinion, boat owners represent a small minority of the residents in the Four Corners, but their attendance at the last three or four meetings has increased significantly. The number of people expressing opposition to unlimited motor boating has diminished at each meeting. I am reminded of a bumper sticker I used to see before the economic hard times set in, He who has the most toys wins.
There was even talk of opening the area to water fowl hunting. Not surprisingly, many of the same people who want unlimited motor boating also want to hunt ducks and geese. No peace for the critters or for the neighbors around Lake Nighthorse.
There is a compromise position that was discussed: Set a low speed limit on the lake and enforce the local noise ordinance. The city of Durango has a noise limit of 80 decibels for motorized vehicles.
Some of the boaters argued that the speed limit should be at least 40 mph. I think that is much too high; 15 mph is fast enough to get from one fishing spot to another.
Should hunting be allowed? Would the noise of shotguns bother other wildlife and people who live close to the lake?
What about jet skis? Jet boats, drag boats, wake boats? Someone will have to set some limits on speed and noise.
We should protect this natural habitat and the natural beauty of this wildlife area.
McKenzie Musick, Hesperus