Paddleboarding resumes at city lakes

Aug. 22, 2013 @ 06:13 PM

Persistence  paid off for High Point resident Kris See and other local stand-up paddleboarding enthusiasts.

Last week, state regulators gave their OK for the water sport to resume at Oak Hollow and City lakes after putting a temporary halt to it this spring.
After water-quality tests showed no adverse effects from the activity — which involves standing on an oversized surf board and using a long-handled paddle to propel through the water — the N.C. Commission of Public Health gave permanent approval.
See frequented Oak Hollow Lake with his paddleboard before the suspension and has resumed outings on the lake since the state issued its ruling. He worked closely with city and state officials and attended the commission meeting in Raleigh at which state environmental officials presented their findings from extensive testing at both lakes following a series of one-day paddleboarding events earlier this summer.
“It only took 5 minutes to go through and say what the findings were,” See said. “They said actually the runoff from rain was probably more of a spike on their test than anything else. There was no discovery made in their testing as far as paddleboarding being impacted, which we knew, but we had to go through it.”
Since both lakes are public drinking water supplies, the state has to approve all recreational activities.
Unlike motorized boating, water skiing, canoeing and kayaking, which are permitted on the lakes, paddleboarding had not been approved by the state. See and others were baffled that something which seemingly has no impact on water quality would be subject to regulation.
State officials responded that any activity that could involve human contact with a public water supply — however minimal — has to be checked to make sure the water’s cleanliness isn’t impacted.
The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources required the city to update its guidelines for the lakes to include a provision that prohibits “bodily contact with the water” by paddleboarders.
This raised the question of whether park rangers would be citing paddleboarders who might briefly step into the lake to launch their boards. City officials they won’t.
“Stand-up paddleboarding is a great form of recreation and exercise, and this is one more way the residents of High Point can enjoy our amazing natural resources,” said Lee Tillery, assistant director of the High Point Parks & Recreation Department. “We’re grateful to everyone who helped make this possible, and we appreciate the patience of our citizens as we worked through this approval process.”
See said he thought all along that there was no reason to prohibit paddleboarding, while canoeing and kayaking were allowed. He said he can appreciate the need to protect the public drinking water supply and is happy to have the rest of the summer for paddleboarding.
pkimbrough@hpe.com | 888-3531