AOPA advocates for continued seaplane access to Ross Lake

August 26, 2010

Limiting seaplane access to the northern and southern edges of Ross Lake in northern Washington is too restrictive, AOPA wrote in formal comments to the National Park Service (NPS).

The NPS is developing a management philosophy to guide decisions regarding the Ross Lake National Recreation Area for the next two decades. But one portion of the proposal lists several restrictions to seaplane access, including limiting the access to the northern and southern parts of the lake or completely banning access.

AOPA has pointed out that the lake averages only 12 to 24 seaplane operations per year and that there is no record of complaints against seaplanes at Ross Lake. In addition, seaplane operations are not expected to increase over the next 20 years.

“Seaplane pilots and visitors to the national parks recognize the need for all users to enjoy their experiences. Normal operating procedures for seaplane pilots include flying friendly to avoid creating disturbances by reducing power settings after takeoff, minimizing over flights and keeping a sharp lookout for other vessels and people on the water,” AOPA explained.

In addition to filing formal comments opposing the proposed restrictions, AOPA will continue to work closely with the Washington Seaplane Pilots Association, local pilots, and the NPS in an effort to preserve access. AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Greg Pecoraro attended an NPS meeting about the plan in July.

“Pilots voiced their opposition during a series of National Park Service meetings, but there’s still more that can be done to preserve access,” Pecoraro said. “Submit your written comments, explaining why access needs to be preserved. It is important that the National Park Service hear from all pilots who would be affected by their proposal.”

Comments are due by Sept. 30 and can be submitted online.