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Detroit Lake Low Water Ramp Project Earns Special Recognition Award
 
The Federal Lakes Recreation Committee for Detroit Lake received the 2011 Special Recognition Award last week by the States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA) at the 25th Annual National Boating Access Conference held in La Crosse, Wisconsin. 
           
The Committee earned the award for its role in securing funding for a low-water boat ramp at Mongold State Park that allows boaters and anglers to access the lake in the winter months or during drought years, when the lake is drawn down to provide storage for flood control.
           
Detroit Lake is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, with individual recreation sites also operated by Oregon State Parks, the City of Detroit, and private marina operators.  The lake serves many purposes –from flood control, water conservation and recreation.  Detroit Lake has also been designated as a Federal Lakes Recreation Demonstration Project and is one of 32 lakes in the nation, designated for recreation.  The Federal Lakes Recreation Committee for Detroit Lake is a community-based organization created in 2003 to collaborate with federal, state, county and local agencies.
   
The City of Detroit, located on the shores of Detroit Lake near its original location before the dam was constructed, is heavily reliant on recreational traffic and tourism related to the lake and surrounding mountains.  Extreme low water levels caused by the drought of 2000 eliminated boating and related tourist activities to the area and the entire community was devastated by vast economic losses by local businesses.  The impacts compelled elected and business leaders to focus on minimizing low water years in the future to avert the same fate again.  By diversifying the recreation opportunities for visitors year-round, primarily to boaters and anglers, the community could remain viable, which is exactly what happened.  Construction of the low water boat ramp has helped the City of Detroit and its businesses, year-round.
           
Agencies involved in the low water boat ramp project included the Willamette National Forest, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon State Marine Board.  The Marine Board approved a grant from state boater funds for $370,000, $75,000 in cash from State Parks, $125,000 in cash and materials from the U.S. Forest Service, and $150,000 in federal Sport Fish Restoration funds from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for a project total of $720,000.
           
“Congratulations to the Federal Lakes Recreation Committee, said Wayne Shuyler, Boating Facilities Section Manager for the Marine Board. “This group is a sterling example of a local entity that, through their actions, sought to increase boating access at Detroit Lake and benefit the long term economy of the City of Detroit.” 
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