Lake Quinault will soon be open for non-tribal use once again, with Quinault Indian Nation officials deciding to lift fishing and boating bans at a Monday meeting. The lake will officially re-open April 26.
The decision comes about a year after a fishing ban was put in place by the tribe’s governing body, the Quinault Business Committee. The committee placed additional bans on boating and swimming later in the year, but the swimming ban was quickly removed.
In addition to removing the fishing bans, the business committee also approved a series of regulations on Lake Quinault recreation, which are aimed at preventing invasive species from entering the lake, according to a press release.
“That has always been our intent,” said Quinault President Fawn Sharp in the press release. “Safeguarding our sacred lake for our children and for all the life it sustains is one of our highest priorities. If we can achieve those objectives, and share this precious resource with our non-tribal members, that’s what we will do. We believe it is time to try.”
The new regulations aren’t permanent — they’ll be in place for a year while officials consider more permanent plans.
Under the new regulations, “swimming, wading, walking, or simply being present on the Lake” are all permitted, as is the use of inner tubes and inflatable mattresses.
Boats, however, will be much more closely monitored.
Regulations state that only “certified boats” — boats the Quinault Department of National resources declare free of invasive species — bearing a sticker issued by the Quinault Indian Nation will be permitted on the lake. As soon as a boat leaves the lake or the Quinault River, it becomes “non-certified.”
Boats powered by internal combustion engines may only be used during fishing season and boats may not travel faster that 25 mph. Boats within 100 yards of the shore may not travel faster than 5 mph.
However, special permits may be obtained for boat races and other activities that require faster boat speeds.
Sport fishing on Lake Quinault will be allowed April 26 through Nov. 2, and all non-tribal people must obtain a fishing permit. Fishing will only be allowed from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.
Residents will also be allowed to leave existing docks standing for at least another year.
Tribal officials recently re-opened discussion with non-tribal members regarding Lake Quinault regulations. Tribal officials met with Lake Quinault residents March 26 to discuss new regulations — including fishing and boating policies, docks and a restriction on non-resident boats.
Discussion regarding lake regulations will continue at an invitation-only meeting April 16.