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Ogdensburg creates ‘no wake’ zone for Oswegatchie boaters

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OGDENSBURG - In an attempt to slow down boaters on the Oswegatchie River near its convergence with the St. Lawrence River, city officials have installed new hanging signs officially designating the area as a “no wake zone.”

The designation means boaters need to slow down to speeds where there is no white water visible in the track of the vessel and no subsequent wakes created by the boats that can create damage as they wash against the shoreline.

On Tuesday the Ogdensburg Parks and Recreation Department, with help from the Ogdensburg Fire Department, installed two large “no wake” signs on the Lake Street Pedestrian Bridge that crosses over the Oswegatchie and connects to the community’s Maple City Trail. The signs are clearly noticeable to boaters as they enter and exit the river underneath the bridge.

The signs were installed to help provide boaters and other visitors a safer environment for recreational opportunities along the river, to provide more productive and safer fishing conditions for anglers and to allow for safer passage of small boats through the inlet, according to city officials.

Slowing down boaters should also help decrease the risk of erosion to the Maple City Trail walkway and limit damage to boats moored at two nearby marinas.

Ogdensburg City Manager John M. Pinkerton said the new warnings are in no way intended to discourage boaters from enjoying the lower Oswegatchie. To the contrary, he said, the signs should make the Ogdensburg stretch of the river a more enjoyable destination for pleasure boaters, pedestrians using the Maple City Trail and anglers by keeping speeding boats out of the waterway.

“That’s shallow water in there and when anyone speeds up it creates havoc down at the marinas,” Mr. Pinkerton said. “It’s also very good fishing in there. We want people to use the river and have a good time, but we also want them to be cognizant of the fact that its an area where they need to watch their speed.”

Mr. Pinkerton said most boaters using the Oswegatchie near the Lake Street bridge are already aware that there are marinas near by and that the waterway is shallow. However, he said, those who don’t follow the no wake warning will face tickets from either the City Police or the U.S. Border Patrol.

“The Border Patrol and the Ogdensburg Police both have boats that can go in there if necessary,” Mr. Pinkerton said. “But we believe having a clear and authoritative sign should alleviate most problems.”

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