For decades, the fishing at Lake D’Arbonne in Union Parish has been better than most of the facilities. But that is changing in some ways and the Bayou D’Arbonne Lake Watershed District is trying to do their part. The Lake Commission, as they are informally called, has approved a boat launching fee structure which will be implemented early this fall as soon as all the elements are in place.
Money raised by launch fees will initially be used for improvements on boat ramps, parking lots and in replacing numerous channel markers which have been destroyed during weather events and floods over the past several years, commission members said.
The launch fee will apply to all persons launching a boat or other watercraft at a launch ramp owned by the Commission on the Lake. Persons launching a boat shall pay the daily launch fee at the ramp or obtain and display a valid annual launch permit. The daily launch fee will be $5.00 to be paid at ramps in payment boxes. An annual permit can be purchased for $50 (half price for veterans and seniors). Property owners on the lake that pay a lake franchise fee on their utility bills may pick up a launch permit at no cost at the local chamber of commerce.
Why a launch fee?
Lake D’Arbonne has become a regional and national draw in recent years, primarily because of the excellent crappie fishing. Three major national crappie tournament trails hold events there and two of them, Crappie Masters and the American Crappie Trail will be holding their next national championships on the lake.
The Lake Commission receives limited funding which restricts the ability of the Commission to maintain and improve D’Arbonne Lake and its facilities.
The Commission has considered additional sources of revenue to enhance funding for the benefit of the Lake and has concluded that the implementation of a launch fee similar to those collected at most other area lakes would be beneficial for such purpose.
The Board of Commissioners of the District adopted the Ordinance at its July meeting. While there was some controversy over the measure on social media sites, there was a packed house at the meeting, and no one spoke against the fees publicly.
When permits are printed, collection boxes completed and final details worked out, the Commission will announce a start day for the fee system.
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