Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission

The Franklin News Post

The Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission approved a no-wake zone for the Mariner’s Landing Resort and Country Club in Huddleston on Tuesday in an effort to slow boaters coming into the narrow cove.

The decision goes against an earlier recommendation by TLAC’s navigation committee in April to deny the application by resort owner Waller Perrow. It is the third time the TLAC board has voted against the recommendation of the committee in recent years.

“I struggle with the denial of this application,” said Lorie Smith, TLAC chairman at Tuesday’s meeting.

Smith said the main issue of the application was whether the resort was public or private. The committee agreed Mariner’s Landing is private which goes against a key TLAC criteria for no-wake zones to “protect the public in places where the general public launches or docks boats and as additional protection to some public swim areas.”

Perrow, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, emphasized that Mariner’s Landing was open and used by the public with boaters using the more than 300 boat slips to visit restaurants and attend community events held throughout the year. A large number of transient guests rent the condos and use the facilities on a regular basis, he added.

The no-wake application was for a narrow cove that much of the resort fronts on Smith Mountain Lake near channel marker C6. Perrow said boaters often speed into the narrow cove.

A no-wake zone is currently in place along The Point at Mariner’s Landing just a short distance from the cove.

The need for a no-wake zone was imperative to prevent potential boating incidents at the cove in the future, according to Perrow. Smith agreed.

“Safety is the priority on Smith Mountain Lake,” Smith said.

Smith suggested future efforts to address some of the criteria the navigation committee follows when deciding on no-wake zones. She said the lake is far different than it was when the criteria were put in place more than 20 years ago, with a much higher volume of boat traffic today.

The navigation committee denied an application in 2022 for an area of the lake near Eagle’s Roost campground that was later overturned by the TLAC board. Last year the TLAC board overturned a decision by the navigation committee to deny an application for a no-wake zone for a portion of the lake near Merriman Run.

TLAC board member Edgar Tuck was also surprised by the navigation committee’s decision in April to deny the application by Mariner’s Landing. He said the cove is not safe as it currently is with boaters traveling at high speeds.

“I’m going to fully support approving this no-wake zone,” Tuck said just before making the motion. It was unanimously approved by the TLAC board.

The recommendation by TLAC will now go to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources for final review.

Jason Dunovant (540) 981-3507