Park Service Considers Lifting Ban - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/19/04

Park Service Considers Lifting Ban

Personal watercraft vehicles may soon be allowed to navigate the waters of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. A new study on the environmental effect of watercrafts like jet skis and wave runners has the National Park Service considering lifting a current ban on those vehicles.

One local business owner urges everyone to get on board to help lift the ban.

Two years ago personal water craft vehicles, including wave Runners and jet skis, were banned from being used on the waters of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The owners of Competition Marine hope the newly released study will help fuel efforts for lifting the ban.

"It was very interesting to me that the environment study showed as far as pollution goes, water, air, sound, everything else, there was nothing negative from personal watercraft," said Gina Nadeaux, part-owner of Competition Marine.

Competition Marine has seen a 50-percent decline in sales of their personal watercraft vehicles since the ban was imposed on park islands including Cat, Ship, and Petit Bois islands.

"And people are very, very upset and angry that the right has been taken away from us...personal water-craft has been discriminated against, specifically, and it is a class-A insurance boat. We pay the same for insurance as other boats. We pay the same for insurance. We pay the same amount for taxes," Nadeaux said.

Joe and Janet Baron were admiring the waters of Davis Bayou of Gulf Islands National Seashore Monday afternoon. They once owned jet skis, and say they don't think lifting the ban would be a bad idea if park waters were properly patrolled.

"I think the people who have the jet skis and wave runners deserve to use the water as much as people who have boats. They pay taxes. As long as they're responsible," Joe Baron said.

Regardless of whether the ban is lifted, this couple plans to enjoy the wind and waters of Davis Bayou during the next few days only this time around it will be by foot.

If you have an opinion on the ban. You have 30 days to voice your opinion on the matter. You can share it with the National Park Service by mail, fax, or email.

For more information go to http://www.nps.gov/guis/pphtml/contact.html.

by Toni Miles

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