MEEKER, Colo. – After a unanimous vote at the Wed., Sept. 1 Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting in Meeker, new “Wakeless Wednesdays” will be implemented at Highline Lake State Park, meaning that no boat or watercraft is allowed to operate at speeds that create a wake. The new regulation will not eliminate motorized boating on Wednesdays, but will limit speeds so that no motorized boats create a wake. It will go into effect on March 1, 2022, when the lake opens back up for boating next year.
Smaller vessels such as kayaks, jon boats, and sailboats have had difficulty navigating on Highline Lake due to an increase in traffic from ski boats, wakeboard boats and personal watercraft that create a wake, especially because Highline Lake is only 160 surface-acres. Staff proposed designating one day a week for wakeless operation. After analyzing boat inspection data, staff found that Wednesday was one of the slowest days for powerboat usage, minimizing the impact of a “Wakeless Wednesday” on motorized users.
Some Colorado waters, like Horseshoe Lake at Lathrop State Park in Walsenburg, are already reserved for “quiet water” activities such as windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, boating at wakeless speeds, fishing and wildlife watching. But Highline Lake’s “wakeless” day is the first time CPW has created this kind of mixed use between motorized and non-motorized watercraft at a state park.
The proposed plan was discussed with the public during a virtual meeting in January.
“We held the public meeting to discuss any boater concerns about limitations before they were put in place and boaters also had an opportunity to voice any concerns with the CPW Commission,” said Highline Lake State Park Manager Alan Martinez. “These changes will allow for a balance between motorized users and the rising popularity of sailboating, canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding.”