Lawmaker urges Waukegan boaters to speak out on live-fire zones
Written by Lake County News-Sun   
Saturday, 23 September 2006 13:44

Waukegan boaters, fishermen and charter operators should weigh in on proposed live-fire zones in Lake Michigan, says state Rep. Karen May, D-Highland Park.The Coast Guard wants approval to establish zones for training with machine guns and small arms in all the Great Lakes. Two zones are proposed about five miles off Lake and Kenosha counties.

The zone off the Lake County shore would extend from Waukegan south to Highland Park.

May held a public meeting this week on the proposal. Boaters and park district officials from Lake Forest and Highland Park attended.

"We need to reach out to Waukegan Harbor," May said.

The Coast Guard is holding public meetings on its proposal around the Great Lakes, but no meetings were scheduled in Illinois or Wisconsin.

"They've totally ignoring this area," May said. She was unable to get a Coast Guard spokesman to attend her Highland Park meeting.

At that meeting, boaters said the fire zone off Lake County appears to be in or near a "well-traveled corridor" used for sailing between Waukegan and Chicago, May said.

Some Coast Guard guns have a range of two miles, she said.

May said the Coast Guard has indicated the live-fire exercises won't take place until after Labor Day.

"They told me boating on the lake dramatically tapers off after Labor Day but the (Lake Forest) Recreation Department says that's not true," she said. "They have a huge Halloween event with more than 100 boats out there."

The Coast Guard is accepting public comment on its proposal through mid-November.

Boaters and fishermen may contact May at her Highland Park office, (847) 831-5858.

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