We were as surprised as anyone when a No Swimming sign appeared at the State boat launch on Clary Lake a few weeks ago. We spoke to Diano Circo, Chief Planner at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) and asked about the sign. It appears there have been numerous complaints of swimmers not getting out of the way when a boater wants to launch or retrieve their craft, both at the Clary launch and at other State-owned launches around the State. According to Mr. Circo, the IF&W has decided to post all State-owned boat launches. Whether this is true or not we can’t say, but another reliable source has confirmed that the State does plan on taking this action in the near future. Department of Conservation rules of conduct at State boat launch facilities prohibit swimming at State-owned boat launches but the no swimming rule has generally not been enforced. That “look the other way” stance has apparently changed.
This is the second year the Clary Lake Association has been conducting Courtesy Boat Inspections at the boat launch looking for hitchhiking invasive plants on boats and trailers. This summer we have had volunteers at the launch from 6 am till 2 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and selected holidays. With the hot weather this summer, there have been a lot of swimmers using the launch site to cool off: there were days when we felt more like lifeguards than boat inspectors! The swimmers have been generally well behaved and respectful when our volunteers have been there, but we are aware of several altercations between boaters and swimmers that have occurred at the launch when we weren’t around to witness what happened. Several times the police were called. It appears to be a case of a few inconsiderate people spoiling it for everyone.
Many people have used the boat launch over the years as a convenient place to go swimming, including some Clary Lake Association members who don’t own property on Clary Lake. We regret this development but we have no say in the matter. There is at this time no other public access on Clary Lake.