The Indiana Seaplane Pilots Association (ISPA) has issued a call to action in support of a proposal to increase public access to Indiana lakes for seaplanes.
“After ten years of a pilot program designed to show the feasibility and compatibility of opening more Indiana lakes to seaplane traffic, the Indiana Departments of Natural Resources (INDNR) and Transportation (INDOT) have scheduled two public meetings to solicit public comment on a new proposal to loosen restrictions ever so slightly,” said a notice to members of the Indiana Seaplane Pilots Association (ISPA).
“Since 1998, ISPA has worked with the state to establish a network of seventeen Indiana lakes with private-use seaplane landing areas. INDNR’s new proposal would grant public-use status to five of those lakes,” the notice said. “We have worked hard to demonstrate that seaplanes can safely and effectively share Indiana’s waters,” commented Randy Strebig, president of ISPA. “Indiana lags far behind states like Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota in access for seaplanes to public waters,” he said. “Those states have literally thousands of public-use landing sites for seaplanes. In Indiana, where the law is ‘no landings except on lakes with designated seaplane bases,’ there are only four lakes with designated public-use landing areas. Four lakes out of over 700, that is,” Strebig emphasized.
In the long run, ISPA hopes that more lakes can be opened to seaplane operations, Strebig said, but “this move is a small step in the right direction. Nevertheless, ISPA representatives are cautious about the prospects. Any time a public policy is up for review, there is potential for bad changes to be made. We need as large a showing of
support as possible,” he concluded.
ISPA is asking seaplane supporters across the nation to send letters and e-mails of support for the change to INDNR and INDOT. In addition, the group is urging “all supporters in and around northeastern Indiana to attend the hearings and make their voices heard.”