New rules are coming for boaters on Clear Lake

By the time the ice on Clear Lake has thawed, boaters will have some new rules to manage before hitting the water.

Parks Canada said in order to obtain a permit to use any trailered vessel in Clear Lake, boat users must not have been in any other body of water in 2023, and they must pass an initial inspection before June 15th.

The changes were prompted by a water sample taken in August, which came back positive in January for zebra mussel environmental DNA.

”We had an unprecedented winter monitoring program set up at Clear Lake,” said Dameon Wall, external relations manager for Riding Mountain National Park. “We’ve taken a number of water samples since then, just because we want to be extra cautious.”

Boats that meet the requirements will have a tag installed that attaches the boat to their trailer.

“And then when you come to the park, that’s the staff’s guarantee that that vessel has not been in a water body which may have zebra mussels in it,” said Wall.

Within the Wasagaming town site, an online petition was started by Karly McRae, president of the Lakehouse group of properties, with the goal of preventing complete banning of trailered boats on the lake.

She notes that, while the tag program is a better solution than an overall ban, some groups will still be affected.

“Some visitors, for sure. And for other stakeholder groups like our Indigenous communities who actively fish on other bodies of water, they will no longer be able to do that if they hope to use Clear Lake for fishing during the 2023 season,” said McRae.

Wall adds that these rules are not permanent, and are subject to further change.

“The situation could change over the course of the summer,” he said, “and if we need to revisit and make further refinements to our program to keep this lake protected, then we will do that.”

Information sessions will be taking place at Dauphin’s Best Western Plus on May 9, the Onanole Recreation Centre on May 10, and Brandon University’s Clark Hall on May 11. The sessions will be held in order to inform the public, hear comments, and answer any questions about the changes.

Clear Lake’s boating season is set to begin June 1st.

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