IUKA — With some vocal support and opposition to the no-wake zone proposal at Grand Harbor Marina, the Tishomingo County Board of Supervisors decided not to get involved.
The board recently unanimously agreed not to take action on a proposed ordinance, as had been requested by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
“They understand that there is a public safety concern there, but they feel that decision is more appropriate in the hands of those over the navigable waters,” said Board Attorney Phillip Whitehead.
MDWFP asked the board to pass an ordinance creating a no-wake zone in the area immediately in front of and on each side of the approach to Grand Harbor Marina. Such zones require vessels to travel slowly to minimize the creation of waves.
Several jurisdictions come into play on the waters around Grand Harbor, including TVA, MDWFP, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard.
While the supervisors voted not to act on an ordinance, “The board further finds that there is a safety issue within the area discussed by all parties,” states the board minutes. “However, the board further finds that the matter is within the jurisdiction of other governmental entities charged with the management and enforcement of the rules related to the navigable waters, which is outside the scope and purview of the jurisdiction of the Board of Supervisors.”
An action of support from the county supervisors is not required for the effort to move forward – it can go directly to other agencies with jurisdiction for consideration, but MDWFP wanted the county’s endorsement.
During a public hearing in August, the Board of Supervisors heard from supporters and opponents of the proposal.
The marina owner, David Woods, was not involved in starting the push for a no-wake zone, but he supports the idea. He said the number of new boaters on the Pickwick waters in recent years is “mind-boggling,” and many of them “have no clue” about safe boating.
Veterans of the area tend not to get on the waters on holiday weekends “because it’s suicide,” he told the board.
Rick Moore, who operates TowboatUS at Pickwick and is familiar with waters throughout much of the South, also spoke in favor of a no-wake zone.
“Without a doubt, the most dangerous piece of water I’m ever in is right out in front of Grand Harbor,” he said.