County Commissioners Look To Tackle Drift Wood Danger on Lake Chelan
Chelan County Commissioners are looking to head an effort to curb the danger of drift wood on Lake Chelan.
Commissioner Tiffany Gering has discussed the issue with several businesses and the state departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife.
She says one lake side resort is already spending its own money to clear out nearby drift wood in the lake.
"Wapato Point spends about $40,000 a year just removing," said Gering. "We were talking about what the solution to this problem looks like, because it's dangerous for boaters, but for swimmers as well. And so those who are recreating on the lake."
Gering says she plans to meet further in January with local businesses, along with state and local agencies to figure out how the County can lead an effort to clear Lake Chelan of dangerous driftwood.
Among the parties involved in future discussions according to Gering, would be the Campbell's and Wapato Point resorts and Manson Parks and Recreation. Manson Bay Park is also operated by Chelan County PUD.
Commissioners discussed inviting the PUD along with the U.S. Forest Service and Parks Service into the discussions during their Monday meeting.
Gering and Commissioner Bob Bugert mentioned the PUD was also involved in drift wood removal efforts in Lake Chelan's far northern community of Stehekin.
Commissioner Kevin Overbay said drift wood would be an ongoing problem on the lake.
"There's so much wood that surrounds that lake, and so many drainages and fire sheds, and everything that gets washed down every time you have a rain event or a snow event," said Overbay.
Commissioner Gering said the Department of Fish and Wildlife had floated the idea of issuing permits to allow all different types of parties to remove drift wood from the lake.
But Gering cautioned against that approach, noting a local short term rental owner had removed a large heavy tree on his own.
Gering said it raised safety issues. "DFW doesn't want people doing that," Gering said.
Commissioner Gering concluded Monday's discussion on drift wood by saying a plan of attack needs to be figured out moving forward.