At their meeting Tuesday, the Inyo Supervisors refused to lay the responsibility of full access to Klondike Lake on DWP. Instead, they bickered with constituents who pressed them to support open use of Klondike.
In May, DWP closed Klondike to motorized boats out of fear that Quagga Mussels might invade the lake and get into the aqueduct. Citizens organized and began to fight for access to their long-time and favorite water ski lake. They gathered 2200 signatures in support. DWP did allow limited hours three days per week.
Tuesday, Russ Markman and Tim Barnes of the Save Klondike Committee stood up to press the supervisors for more reasonable access. They pointed out that the Inyo Water Commission had backed their wishes. The group also offered its own plan in which citizens would pay for one-third of expenses.
Board members seemed somewhat impatient with the Klondike supporters. The Board invited DWP’s Clarence Martin to speak. He said DWP has the “responsibility to keep this cost neutral.” Martin claimed it would be a “gift of public funds” to pay for public access needs.
Martin revealed DWP had paid one of its workers $30 an hour to sit at the gate at Klondike and $10,000 for a tack strip to control access. Citizens found those amounts excessive.
Kelly Clark told the board members how much recreating at the lake means to her and her family. She brought up ethics and asked the supervisors to do the right thing.
Then a young woman, Kammi Foote, stood up and pointed to the water agreement and the fact that Klondike Lake is an enhancement-mitigation project to make up for DWP’s groundwater pumping damage. Foote said under the agreement, DWP is responsible to pay for Klondike and keep it open for water skiing, as stated in environmental documents.
“It’s a legal obligation,” said Ms. Foote. “The Board of Supervisors shouldn’t make a volunteer citizen group pay for this.”
When asked if they agree with Ms. Foote’s statements, most supervisors side-stepped the question. Do they believe DWP is legally responsible for keeping Klondike fully open? Supervisor Richard Cervantes said that’s a valid issue. Susan Cash said they are allowing some water skiing. Beverly Brown finally said she doesn’t know. Linda Arcularius said, “It’s not our responsibility.” Arcularius said she thinks DWP has kept the lake open.