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Boaters may be able to get back on Cunningham Lake soon

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 4:14 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Avid fishermen have not kept their concerns a secret about a popular fishing spot. The possibility of banning outside boats when Cunningham Lake reopens has been a hot topic on social media.

“You can fish from the shore but it’s not the same as fishing from a boat,” fisherman Travis Weller said.

Weller and other fishing enthusiasts want to put their boats on Cunningham Lake when it reopens.

“And we don’t want to be restricted to not be able to put a boat on a lake,” fisherman Blair Debban said.

But a private trust that has invested more than $17 million in upgrading the park has expressed concerns about outside watercraft bringing in algae-killing and fish-starving zebra mussels.

Preparations for paving an entrance to the park may be an indication that reopening is not that far away, but fishing enthusiasts are looking for a sign they can bring their boats in and troll the lake.

In an email to a boat proponent, Brook Bench, executive director of Cunningham Lake Trust, implies that boaters will be able to shove off onto the lake when it reopens.

“Our goal here is to just have full access to the lake, and if it takes a washing station to do that, then that’s great,” Debban said. “My only concern is if they try to restrict access until such facility is built.”

Weller said details are still coming together to bring boaters back to the lake.

“A lot of people are excited or going to be excited to find out the news that boaters are going to be allowed to go in there, as long as proper steps are taken wash your boat out and everything,” he said.

The email doesn’t say the decision is final, and the trust is asking for patience — a fitting request for the fishing community.

Omaha City Councilwoman Aimee Melton, who is a member of the parks committee, said those concerned about banning outside boats should be more at ease now that the intentions of the trust are in writing.

The executive director hasn’t yet replied to 6 News messages about the email.

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