Third no-wakesurf zone at lake advances

The Lake Anna Advisory Committee voted to support an application for the third no-wakesurfing zone on the lake.

The proposed zone extends 2,550 feet along Pamunkey Creek in front of the Runnymede subdivision in Spotsylvania County. The lake’s existing no-wakesurfing zones are adjacent to Kelly’s Landing subdivision on Pamunkey Creek and on Terry’s Run in front of the Southwind Shores subdivision.

Numerous residents spoke in support of the application at the committee’s Jan. 27 meeting in Spotsylvania County. Cathy Hall, who lives in the Runnymede neighborhood, said a residual wake from a boat caused her vessel to pitch and her husband to fall and hit his head. In a separate case, the rear of the couple’s boat was swamped when a wake crashed over it.

“There is not enough lake up here for the waves to dissipate properly,” Hall said. “We can’t even enjoy our own backyards for the waves.”

Brad Kirley, another Runnymede resident, said his granddaughter was injured when a large wake from a boat threw her into the piling on the dock.

“My young granddaughter, who loves the water and swimming, will no longer go in the lake,” he said. “Who is going to help her overcome her fear when the boats are still causing problems in front of our property?”

He said it was unfair that people can’t enjoy other water sports like kayaking and stand-up paddling when wakesurfing is going on in the area.  

Steve Harler, LAAC’s recreation and water sports subcommittee chair and owner of Mid-Atlantic Watersports, said he doesn’t want a few “bad apples to ruin it for everyone.” But he criticized the proposal to mark a no-wakesurfing zone with buoys, arguing they will cause a bottleneck and confusion among boaters.

Instead, he said, homeowners who have issues with wakesurfers should contact law enforcement and file a complaint.

“We need to do a better job of getting law enforcement involved, even if they can’t cite the person then,” he said. “If we can get a handle on the issues and possibly who or what boat is causing them, then we can reach out to educate them rather than just complain about it. If we don’t educate folks who are doing things they shouldn’t, then they will keep on doing them.”

Jean McCormick, LAAC’s navigation and safety subcommittee chair, said in her seven years in that role she has reviewed every no-wake application on the lake.

“I am in full support of this application on the basis of safety, erosion and property damage as stated in the application,” she said. “These are the exact same issues expressed in the Kelly’s Landing application a few years ago as well as the Southwind Shores application.”

“There wouldn’t be two existing zones and one under consideration if wake surfers would take the advice and recommendations of their own association, the WSIA [Water Sports Industry Association],” said Maureen Daniels, who chairs the Lake Anna Civic Association’s emergency services and safety group. “I encourage LAAC’s recreation and water sports subcommittee to make this a priority – educating the wakesurfing community and encouraging them to incorporate courtesy for others in enjoying their sport. I am confident we can get to a place where wakesurfing and other recreational activities can coexist.”

Advisory committee members had mixed feelings about the application. Spotsylvania County Supervisor Kevin Marshall said the process to designate a no-wakesurfing zone is cumbersome and that since the state Department of Wildlife Resources makes the final decision, they should handle the whole process.  

The committee voted 4-3-1 to approve the no-wakesurfing zone, with support from Louisa County citizen representative Dick Shrum, Chairman Chris McCotter, Ann Melle and Jeff Palmer. Mineral District Supervisor Duane Adams, Marshall and Bobby Egan were opposed while Sarah Marshall of Dominion Energy abstained.

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