In the article “Showdown at Stillwater” (March/April) you covered many of the issues surrounding the Stillwater boat launch and access to the hamlet of Beaver River. However, a major benefit of the barge service that carries vehicles to Beaver River was not addressed.
Prior to the Thompsons’ purchase of the barge, the vast majority of trips in or out of Beaver River required a motorboat trip the full length of the reservoir. Because the barge can carry up to six vehicles, and only crosses a mile of water, many of the impacts associated with motorboat use have been greatly reduced.
Many Beaver River residents no longer maintain a boat, depending instead on the barge service for access.
Stillwater Reservoir, with less noise and fewer boat wakes, has become a much nicer place for paddlers. Fewer boats result in less disturbance of wildlife. As it looks for a resolution of the Beaver River access issue, the state might consider that the barge service not only relieves congestion and parking at the boat launch, it also improves quality of life on the reservoir for paddlers and wildlife.
Tom Salo, West Burlington