DNR Plays Word Games Over Closing of Stipp Road Ramp

Former small boat ramp to become a "car topper" launching point under new directive

By Don Jordan

Posted 3/1/08

March 1, 2008

If you have ever spent much time around Lake Monroe, you no doubt know a few places like the little "People's" boat ramp at the 90-degree curve on Stipp Road.

If you are familiar with the place, you know it as a spot that attracts small groups of picnickers and owners of small fishing boats, often elderly anglers, who launch off Stipp Rd. for a lot of reasons. According to Buddy Bill whose Bait Barn is just up from this spot, his elderly customers seek to avoid the huge boats and wakes often seen around the lake's major launching ramps.

"They don't want to get out there in the main lake. They like to fish up there in the back of Moore's Creek where it's calm," said Moser.

According to a communication from State Rep. Peggy Welch, Roach explained that his office decided to close off the ramp because of the danger of drivers missing the turn and driving into the lake.

This has never happened according to Buddy Bill.

"Unless they have some statistics that I have never heard about, nobody has driven into the lake there. Now there have been some people drive into the high water on the road itself, but not into the lake. When water is up on the road, you couldn't get far enough to drive off into the lake at the ramp," he said.

As "Outdoors Today" producer Rich Reardin said: "It is just another case of government taking things away from people."

The Monroe County Highway Dept. has apparently agreed to install guard rails all the way around the curve where the boat ramp is located, thereby close the ramp to trailerable boat launching.

The DNR is now calling the Stipp Road facility a "car-topper" launching point and not a launching ramp.

People with canoes or car top boats will have to park at the end of the guard rails and carry their boat and equipment about 50 yards to the launching point, but small boats on trailers will have to go to one of the major launching ramps like nearby Moore's Creek and do battle with big boats and big boat wakes that come from the main lake.

Initially, the DNR has said only that it was not going to close the ramp. It is in fact closing the ramp, but by renaming it as a car-topper ramp they can claim the ramp is not closed.

This is typical DNR leadership hair-splitting, and this time it is covering a major change of the way things have always been done at Lake Monroe.

The DNR does as it pleases at Monroe, and property manager Jim Roach has assumed the role of king at the reservoir, just as his predecessor, Tom Weddle, did during his tenure. Weddle lost his job in a major scandal over 20 years ago, and Roach has been on the job ever since.

It is way past time for a change at Lake Monroe and at the DNR. People have no input at what the king does and the DNR isn't even trying to listen on this issue.

©Copyright 2008. Jordan Communications