You can Help the Kootenai County Commissioners Make the Right Decision

This page archives the posts from our campaign for a No-Excessive Wake Ordinance. The ordinance was passed by the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners on May 21, 2020!

Read Association President Geoff Harvey’s My Turn column. Sign Our Online Petition.

The Hayden Lake Watershed Association believes the proposed excessive wake ordinance is a good step to balance the rights of all lake users. We urge you to contact the county commissioners and express your views. Visit our “You can Help the Commissioners Make the Right Choice” page for a guide to the when and how to comment and why we believe the proposed excessive wake ordinance makes sense.

Make Your Voice Heard! It is time for the majority of boaters and lakeshore owners to tell the Kootenai County Commissioners – “Yes, the lakes and waterways belong to us all for our mutual use, however, those many uses must be regulated to protect the recreation of other lake users. That protection must include those power and non-powered boating, swimming, wading and just enjoying their dock or lakeshore property.”

Thursday May 21, 2020 11:00AM >>>>> Watch the Kootenai County Commissioners deliberate the proposed No-Excessive Wake Ordinance – live streamed on YouTube.

The Kootenai County Commissioners will conduct a Public Hearing to consider enacting a Kootenai County Waterways Restricted Zone Designation at 6:00pm on May 19, 2020.
The hearing will be held in the Kootenai County Administration Building, 451 Government Way in Coeur d’Alene. There are two ways to comment on this proposal.

  • Written Comments
  • Make sure the comments are sent early enough to arrive 48 hours before the hearing.
  • Even if you plan to attend the hearing and speak, send an email or letter.
  • emails must be sent to
  • Letters must be sent to Kootenai County Commissioners PO Box 9000, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83816
  • In-Person Testimony
  • Check in and notify the secretary you wish to speak at least 15 minutes before the hearing begins. There may be several people wishing to speak so consider arriving early.
  • Individuals will have three minutes to speak.
  • Groups will have 15 minutes to speak and are able to use visual presentations.

Take the time to read the proposed ordinance and if you would like to take a deeper dive the County Code for Parks and Waterways is available.

Hayden Lake Watershed Association Commentary on the Proposed Kootenai County Excessive Wake Ordinance

  • The Hayden Lake Watershed Association represents many Hayden Lakeshore owners and many more who enjoy the lake on a regular basis.  Many of our supporters are recreational users of other Kootenai County Waterways.
  • The Association fields more complaints about excessive boat wakes on Hayden Lake than nearly any other issue save invasive aquatic weeds.
  • The Association supports the proposed ordinance as a good start to regulating excessive boat wakes caused by wake boat operated on the lake.
  • We believe 500 feet would have been a better demarcation point, but we are more than willing to start with this limit and assess its effectiveness.
  • In our view, wake boat use is a valid a lake use entitled to users by the state’s constitution as are other recreational uses, boating (powered and non-powered), swimming, wading or just enjoying life along the shore or on ones dock.
  • However, these uses must be wisely governed for the enjoyment of all recreational users.
  • The proposed ordinance will preclude recreational wake creation in some narrow bays and on most of the Spokane River, but The Association believes this is appropriate.
  • In fact the Association agrees that given the general width of the Spokane River under 600 feet with few wider locations, it is most appropriate to preclude recreational wake generation on the river to simplify enforcement for the Sheriff’s marine deputies.
  • The Association believes the proposed ordinance is an initial good step to regulate boating and other uses of Kootenai County’s Waterways.

Further Hayden Lake Watershed Association Commentary on the Proposed Kootenai County Excessive Wake Ordinance

  • The new boat wake ordinance with the addition of the no-excessive wake zone will better protect shorelines, docks and moored boats from damage resulting from large wakes generated close to shore.
  • We already have no-wake zones on county waterways by Kootenai County ordinance. The proposed new ordinance merely seeks the addition of the no-excessive wake zone with the following factors in mind:
  • Increased boat traffic on all Kootenai County waterways has necessitated increased protection of the shoreline in the form of a no-excessive wake zone. This is a public safety issue.
  • All types of watercraft can and should be operated at a speed that will not cause a large, damaging wakes within the county’s prescribed no-wake zones.  This ordinance applies to all motorized watercraft and does not single out wave / surf type boats.
  • The addition of the no-excessive wake zone would not be any more challenging to enforce than the current wake standard. The enforcement authority is the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department.