Boaters will no longer have to come back to shore to get a snack or a beverage - but they'll have to experience some waves.
The Bureau of Land Management, which has exclusive rights to the waters below the 450-foot elevation marker, issued one permit for an on-the-water vendor this week. Vendor Mark Wellinstein received the permit following the conclusion of a 180-day process, which included an environmental assessment, public comment period, public meeting and several months of discussions. Bureau of Reclamation representatives said that the BLM would be the only organization in charge of granting permits. Wellinstein said he's happy to be back on the water, as the business is his livelihood.
"This is how I make my living so I need to be out and available as much as possible but it's not going to be easy to make up for that lost time," he said.
Wellinstein said he also is having difficulties adjusting to new regulations following the permit process. Under current conditions provided in the environmental assessment, floating vendors will not be allowed to return to the Thompson Bay "no wake zone." For Wellinstein, and any other possible on-the-water-vendors, this can mean rough conditions for serving customers.
"It's very difficult to try to do business out here in these waves," he said. "I've tried several locations, and with the speed of the boats, I almost got thrown off trying to serve a customer the other day. I don't know I'm going to handle things and it's not nearly the situation I hoped it would be, but right now I've got to be out here."
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