A recent settlement between the National Park Service and Bluewater Network, a San Francisco-based conservation group, may eliminate personal watercraft from the entire park system by 2002.
Last March, the National Park Service
banned Jet Skis from all but 21 of its units. The watercraft are
now restricted to 11 national recreation areas - including Lake
Mead and Lake Powell - and 10 national seashores and lakeshores.
The recent settlement gives the Park Service until September 2002
to prove that their use at these units complies with the National
Environmental Policy Act. Sean Smith, Bluewater Network's Public
Lands Director, says, "The law is clear that the Park Service must
treat all units with a minimum level of
The case is not yet closed, however:
Two motor ski users' and manufacturers' groups have intervened, and
Stephan Andranian of the American Watercraft Association says his
group will "fight for equal access."
says the group doesn't propose use in high-profile parks such as
Yosemite, but he does think it's appropriate at artificially
created reservoirs like Lake Powell.
Collins of the National Parks Conservation Association counters,
"The pollution that comes out of the tailpipe is the same whether
it's at Yosemite or Lake Mead."