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The Battle for Peace and Quiet at Waldo Lake

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 By Chris ThomasContact
February 25, 2008

Eugene, OR – It's a court battle that may last almost as long as Waldo Lake is deep. There's another hearing today in Eugene about who has the right to decide if gas-powered motors can be banned on Waldo, one of the deepest and purest lakes in Oregon.

Conservation groups and the U.S. Forest Service say Waldo Lake users want peace and quiet, and that gas motors also affect water quality. But Gary Guttormsen, a longtime volunteer at the lake, says float plane pilots and one family continue to challenge the Forest Service's decision to make Waldo non-motorized.

"That was finalized around 2001. There are a few people that have a great deal of money, and as long as they can drag this through the courts, it's prolonging it."

Waldo is widely considered to be one of the most pristine lakes in Oregon and, for Guttormsen and others, it's worth keeping that way.

"It's our responsibility to protect that water. To do that, I think you remove as many pollutants as you possibly can, and then, maybe we're going to keep the lake for future generations, as pure as it is today."

Guttormsen explains electric motors are allowed on the lake, but not gas-powered. Challengers claim that, although the Waldo Lake Wilderness Area is under Forest Service control, the Service didn't have the right to ban gas-powered motors because the lake water belongs to the State of Oregon. The ban would include not only boat motors, but chainsaws and generators.

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