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Applegate Lake speed limit stays at 10 mph

Jet skiers and waterskiers won't be crisscrossing Applegate Lake anytime soon.

The Oregon State Marine Board has denied a request to lift the lake's 10-mph speed limit, keeping the 33-year-old restriction intact.

Water-skiing enthusiasts had sought to lift the limit so Jackson County's second largest reservoir could be a skiing alternative to congested Lost Creek and Emigrant lakes, but the proposal was widely panned by the lake's current constituency of anglers, kayakers, canoeists and open-water swimmers.

The Marine Board unanimously denied the petition during its Thursday meeting in Salem.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest opposed the change, saying lifting the speed limit flies against its long-standing approach of stressing "slow-paced" recreational activities there.

The lake is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, while the Forest Service oversees recreational facilities there.

The Marine Board received more than 75 emails and two dozen letters after accepting Jordan Reich's petition for the change Nov. 4. Close to 100 people turned up at a public meeting last month in Medford to voice opposition to the change.

More than 100 people signed an online petition that Reich turned in to the Marine Board along with his proposal.

Reich's proposal stated that upping the speed limits would increase use of the lake's boating facilities, create more use of the waterway, decrease congestion at other area lakes and promote Applegate Valley businesses.

The proposal included 5 mph no-wake zones around Harr Point Campground, the French Gulch boat ramp, the cove area around Carberry Campground and the Seattle Bar area popular among swimmers and waders when the reservoir level is high.

The reservoir was created in 1980 by the damming of the Applegate River just north of the Oregon/California border.

The Forest Service, Corps, Marine Board and others were involved in the recreation management plan that led to the 10 mph restriction that has remained since the lake first filled in 1981.

Past attempts to lift the restriction were sunk similarly to this one.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.