As part of the Lake Lanier Master Plan Update, seaplanes may be allowed on Lanier. The Corps’ Environmental Impact Statement released this past November states, “The preferred alternative with respect to seaplanes is to allow seaplane operations on Lake Lanier. The USACE, Mobile District is considering a policy change to permit recreational seaplane activity on Lake Lanier. If the policy is changed, seaplane operations on Lake Lanier would be limited as noted below. No commercial operation of seaplanes on Lake Lanier would be allowed. Seaplanes would not be allowed to moor at docks authorized by a shoreline use permit (that is, individual private docks or community docks). However, if mooring at docks is allowed at all, it would be addressed in the update to the Lake Lanier Shoreline Management Plan. Use of courtesy docks at recreational areas (parks and campgrounds) would be allowed. Overnight mooring of seaplanes at campgrounds while its pilot and guest(s) are camping would be allowed. USACE, Mobile District would not restrict the use of commercial docks by seaplanes, but their use would be at the discretion of the individual lease holder (marina, restaurant, etc.). No seaplane operation would be allowed between sunset and sunrise, that is, a seaplane engine could not be on between sunset and sunrise.”

Use of seaplanes on Lanier has been in discussion since 2014. During that time, Troy Wheeler, the owner of Lanier Flight Center and the National Seaplane Pilots Association’s Georgia Field Director, and members of Lanier Flight Center have been trying to gain the approval to operate seaplanes on Lake Lanier. When asked why he thought Lanier would be an appropriate venue for this activity, Troy said, “There is plenty of open water out on the lake that would be suitable for landing and once you’re on the water you become a boat. Then you follow all the boat rules. Safety is also top-of-mind for the pilot’s group, a pilot has a good visualization point when making his/her approach and can decide not to land if it’s not safe. Recreation on Lanier would be enhanced because bringing seaplanes on the lake would make it possible for people to visit here. That also being said many of us have homes on Lake Lanier, or we have close friends and family that live on the lake, and we want to ensure that Lake Lanier is enjoyed by everyone and that all pilots operate responsibly on this great resource.”

The seaplane policy must be approved by the Mobile District Commander to become effective. Many of LLA’s members have varying viewpoints of this new proposal and registered comments with the Corps both for and against it. The decision regarding seaplane use on Lanier is now in the hands of the Mobile District.

Lanier Flight Center is a LLA Steward Level Business Sponsor.

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