Welcome to the 2024 Hayden Lake Watershed Spring Report

April 2024
From President Jan Wilkins

We’re gearing up for a busy Spring and Summer on Hayden Lake. Your Association Board has been working over the winter on a variety of issues that will affect life on the lake now and in the future.

You may recall that we cancelled our annual meeting scheduled for late last Fall due to timing issues. We are pleased to report that our next annual meeting has been scheduled for Monday, August 5, 2024, at the Hayden Lake Country Club at 6 pm. General Manager Les Hintz and the club are sponsoring this event, for which we are very grateful.

To make this as reader friendly as possible, we have abbreviated some of the discussion points, with links to more detailed background notes for those interested in learning more.

Use the buttons below to jump to a favorite topic.

Jan Wilkins

Jan Wilkins

HLWA President


The Board’s efforts to prevent the erosion, sedimentation, and possible contamination from Forest Service Rd. 437 and the un-permitted shooting site into Hayden Creek came to a stalemate in January. The Forest Service position has evolved over the last 4 years from first, moving to decommission the road, and then to improving the road, and finally to stay with the status quo. The Board was convinced that existing conditions are in violation of The Clean Water Act and appealed to the EPA for a ruling in February. Use this link to see a copy of the letter that was sent to the EPA, and to read the background of the ongoing efforts to protect the water quality of Hayden Creek, the major tributary for Hayden Lake on Forest Service land.


Last Fall, several possible violations of Idaho Department of Lands permitting were reported to us by our members. Activity in O’Rourke Bay was permitted according to the IDL, however a boat garage violation at 3270 Hayden Lake Rd, appears to be a clear violation of its permit. We are urging the state to act. Use this link to read the background letter sent to state and local IDL officials.


The English Point Trail System on Panhandle National Forest Land is the most heavily used trail system in Northern Idaho.  Enjoyed by hikers, bikers and horseback riders, the trails have been degrading over the years.  Recognizing that severe erosion has taken a toll on several of the trails, the Friends of North Idaho Trails Association, (FONIT,) has taken the lead to re-design and re-build several of the most damaged areas.

Supporters have applied for a grant from the Recreation Trails Program to improve drainage, signing and the parking area.  The Hayden Lake Watershed Association has committed to a pledge of $2,000 as part of the $10,000 match that will be required should the grant be approved.  FONIT will need to raise additional funds from groups and individuals to make these upgrades possible.


Excessive wakes and their threats to docks, shorelines, and personal safety continue to be a serious concern.  Two years ago, we created a reporting method on our website where violations could be reported and tracked.  We have passed this data on to the Board of County Commissioners and to the Sheriff’s department.  Sheriff deputies have used this data to keep an eye on the reported hot spots, so this information is being put to good use.  Use this link to view the reporting site on our website.

We will be sending out another mailer in the late Spring to remind folks to report their adverse experiences, and to be considerate of their neighbors when enjoying their boat towing or plowing activities.   We will also continue our lake rules education campaign by putting flyers on the boats with trailers at all the public input facilities.  Over the last 4 years we have distributed over 5,000 fliers by mail or on foot.  Sheriff deputies have told us that the Hayden Lake boating community is the most knowledgeable boating group in the county about waterway rules and regulations.

Boater education is important, but so is enforcement.  It appears that marine deputies’ coverage for the lake in the summer of ’24 will be like past years.  There has been discussion in the past about funding the sheriff’s office efforts to have a deputy assigned to Hayden Lake more often.  We are currently looking into several possibilities.


Some of you will be receiving a mailing from us regarding voluntarily re-zoning 5 acre+ parcels on the south and east sides of the lake.  The proposed changes would re-zone the affected parcels from current zoning, “Rural Residential,” (which currently allows for 8000 square feet building lots,) to “Rural.”  Rural zoning limits subdivision to 5 acre lots.  The re-zoning would ensure the continuation of the rural nature of the development that occurs behind the shoreline and would be more protective of the lake’s water quality.  Use this link to give us your input.


Water conservation is becoming more and more important.  Lake water levels may be lower than normal this summer due to below average snowpacks in the elevations that provide the water to our tributaries and springs.  At the same time, a dry hot summer will mean more water drawn by lakeside owners for domestic water use, and for irrigation purposes by Dalton Gardens among others.   We will be sending a mailing in early summer to remind all the water consumers of Hayden Lake to conserve water whenever possible.


For the first time in recent memory, residents on the south side of the lake serviced by AVISTA have not endured days of power outages after high wind events in the winter.   We attribute this to an expensive and labor intensive effort by AVISTA to bury power lines in the areas where overhead lines were most susceptible.  AVISTA applied for and received a grant for the work, the only one in Idaho to receive such funding.  HLWA has been urging for these improvements for several years, and we are pleased that the efforts for all participants have been successful.  Use this email address to send a note of thanks to AVISTA:  Marshall.law@avistacorp.com


There is growing concern in the fishing community that Northern pike have been decimating the populations of several species, including trout, crappie, and perch.  Pike quite possibly disrupt the basic aquatic plant ecosystems of the shallow parts of the lake. We are collecting information and considering how and if the Association could be involved in reversing this trend.


The Association will be sponsoring a booth at Hayden Days this year, on July 26-27. Come by and say Hi if you are attending!

We sent out a dues notice in January. Dues are our primary source of income, and still only $25.00 a year. If you have not yet joined or renewed your HLWA membership, use the links on the top of this page to do it now!

I’d like to extend a big “Thank you” to our hardworking board of directors: Geoff Harvey, (president emeritus,) Barb Neal, (treasurer), Will Neal, (VP and technical and communications officer,) Gil Rossner, Shawn Hathaway, Todd Walker and Leda Kobziar. As you know we are an all-volunteer organization, and we could use some help!!! Contact me if you would be willing to help with education, joining a subcommittee of interest to you, or becoming a member of our board. We are in desperate need of a recording secretary!

I look forward to hearing from you, and to seeing you at our annual meeting on August 5!
Jan Wilkins, president. jan@haydenlakewatershedassociation.com