Feds aim to sink regatta at Lake Lowell

LAKE LOWELL, Canyon County (KBOI) -- Sailors who love to compete in the annual regatta at Lake Lowell say the federal government is unfairly targeting them with a plan to ban the sailboat races at Deer Flat National Wildlife refuge.

"And the reasons just don't make any sense as far as upsetting the waterfowl, nesting grounds and and the eco-system in general," said Dennis Cleary with the Southern Idaho Sailing Association (SISA)," because all our racing is done off shore, in the middle of the lake."

The regatta has been a tradition for 44 years.

Deer Flat was established as a wildlife refuge in 1909 and federal law requires the refuge to come up with a conservation plan.

The latest draft calls for a prohibition on sailboat races, saying the regatta disturbs wildlife and causes safety concerns.

"They're allowing all power boating, sailing and recreational boating," said Keith Sander with but they've decided they won't allow competitive group activities."

The final plan is expected this winter and SISA hopes that's enough time to convince the federal government to take a different tack.