Central Arkansas Water is seeking public input concerning efforts to alter recreational regulations for Lake Maumelle and Lake Winona. Public comments will be combined with the water utility’s research to plan how the land should be used.
Spokesman Doug Shackelford notes the utility’s criteria for considering public suggestions.
“The requests we’ve gotten- are they feasible? Is it something CAW could look at as potential new recreational opportunities in the future? Or do we need to maintain the policies that are in place to ensure the protection of the watershed and the water source for drinking water for the area?”
Shackelford also says there is a tension between increased public use of the area and maintaining water standards.
“We want to review and see what’s the right balance for recreational opportunities for the citizens of the area who want to take advantage of such a beautiful area versus the potential impact on water quality,” he said.
The utility has hired Kleinschmidt Associates to review current regulations, meet with stakeholders, and review feasibility of suggested recreational activities on the waterways.
Currently, both water sources only permit fishing, sailing, and the use of boats with less than nine horsepower. Community suggestions so far include the creation of hiking and biking trails, camp sites, increases in maximum boat horsepower, and the permission of water-to-body contact activities, such as swimming, for the first time. Shackelford cautions that an increase in recreational land use may result in an increased maintenance cost that could affect utility customers.
Central Arkansas Water will be accepting public comments until June 17. After that deadline, all input will be compiled and presented to the utility’s Board of Commissioners who will make the final decision regarding recreational use of the area.
To submit an idea or opinion about recreational land use, visit carkw.com.