New Philadelphia – There will be no change in the horsepower
limits at Piedmont and Clendening lakes, the DNR Division of
Watercraft and the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District have
However, the issue may come up again, maybe as soon as next
Last year, petitions were submitted to the Division of
Watercraft seeking an increase from 9.9 to 25 horsepower.
Petitioners cited safety, such as the need to get off the water
quickly in bad weather, and the need for a bit more horsepower to
get newer boats, which are often heavier, up on plane as among the
reasons for a change.
Public hearings were held at the lakes in May and comments were
received by the Division of Watercraft and the conservancy district
Deb Green, a spokeswoman for the Division of Watercraft who
tabulated the responses, said they received “quite a few” comments
and that about 80 percent were “passionately against” any change at
the lakes. She said that when the Division of Watercraft and MWCD
representatives met to consider the issue, they took only about 20
minutes to reach their decision.
“There was no driving safety concern” that supported the issue,
she said, so they looked at public perceptions. The volume of
opposition to a change made the decision easy, Green said.
Although the issue is settled for now, Green said she wouldn’t
be surprised if the issue comes up again in a few years.
One of the organizers of the petition drive, Don Mosser of the
Piedmont area, confirmed Green’s feeling, saying he’s going to
spend the winter researching the issue and could submit another
petition as soon as next year.
“When we do it again, we will be better prepared,” he said.
One thing Mosser asked was why Atwood (another MWCD lake) has a
25-horsepower limit, while the other small horsepower lakes allow
only 9.9 horsepower motors. He thinks the limited horsepower lakes
should be uniform, either in horsepower limits or allowing idle
“A lot of pontoon boat owners jumped up and down against this at
the meetings,” Mosser said. “I don’t understand. I would think they
would like to be able to have bigger motors
“I hope we try again next year,” Mosser said. “I’m 72 years old
and I can’t wait too long to try again.”
Another of the petition organizers, Wayne Karl of the Piedmont
area, was more accepting of the outcome and said he was not
surprised at the decision. He credited the boat clubs in the area
with being “well organized” in their opposition.
“If that’s what the majority wants, that’s fine,” he said,
adding “I don’t see why an increase would hurt anything. Thirty
years ago, the horsepower limit went from 6 to 10. I thought it was
time for another move up, but that’s fine … I love the lake like it
Clendening and Piedmont are part of the Muskingum Watershed
Conservancy District, organized in the 1930s for flood control in
the Muskingum River drainage. Clendening Lake is in Harrison County
and Piedmont Lake is located in portions of Belmont, Guernsey, and
Harrison counties. Both are noted fishing destinations, with
Clendening holding the state record for flathead catfish and
Piedmont for muskellunge. Both are also noted as bass fishing
destinations (Piedmont being noted for its smallmouth as well as
largemouth) and Piedmont’s reputation for saugeye fishing has been