More miles of protected area for wildlife and smaller public recreation spaces are proposed for the Lake O’ the Pines shoreline under what would be the first substantive management plan in 41 years.
Ten residents and property owners attended a public meeting Thursday in Longview to learn about proposed revisions to the lake’s shoreline management plan.
In a draft of the plan, notable revisions include increasing prohibited access areas from 0.9 miles to 1.3 miles; adding 11.7 miles of protected shoreline areas; and decreasing public recreation areas by 41% to 15.5 miles.
“Where the public recreation areas decreased, the protected shoreline areas increased, and that’s because in a lot of the closed campgrounds and parks that have been downsized to just boat ramps from way back years ago, the shoreline allocation is still set over public recreation areas,” said Cody Berry with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Bill Parrymore, who is hoping that the Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake, will become more lenient on mowing and other vehicle restrictions surrounding the Johnson Creek property his family has owned since the early 1960s — property he said he and his wife one day will deed to their children.
Parrymore questioned the Corps about mowing restrictions, parking vehicles on Corps property and affixing a chair permanently to his boat dock, but personnel told him that not much is changing where his property is concerned.
“We’re in what they say is a flood zone, which is probably a good 100 yards from the lake itself that the Corps owns that property, and you can’t do anything on that property even though nobody can build behind you or anything,” Parrymore said.
The shoreline management plan designates what will be allowed on sectors of the lake’s shores. It specifies the rules and policies that govern activities by people using federal land, such as private boat docks or mowing, under-brushing or pedestrian foot paths on vegetation.
The Corps of Engineers, which also built the lake, says revisions are needed to the shoreline management plan in order to incorporate changes in public law made since 1978 when the original plan was created.
The plan complements the 2018 Lake O’ the Pines Master Plan that was approved in February.
At similar public hearings six months ago in Longview and Jefferson, residents brought up concerns about private boat dock requirements as well as steel pylons used to stabilize marina docks.
Parrymore attended the Jefferson meeting, gave his input and came to the Longview meeting Thursday to see if his concerns were addressed.
“We got a brand new dock built down there, and we’ve got it built to specifications that they required and all, so there’s just a few other things that I want to find out about them,” the former Longview fire chief said.
The public has until Jan. 10 to review the draft and make comments.