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On Lake Minnetonka, Business Is As Slow As The Boats

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – High water continues to keep boat traffic to a crawl on Lake Minnetonka. For the past couple of weeks, a lake-wide no wake order has stayed in effect.

While that’s hampering enjoyment of the lake, it’s also putting a crimp on businesses.

The tunnel leading into Gabe Jabbour’s Tonka Bay Marina in Excelsior appears more like a passageway for boats, not people.

“This is the highest I’ve ever seen it out here,” Jabbour said.

The record high water level is closing roads and inundating businesses. Docks are no longer dry, and electricity and gas pumps have been shut off.

“People take pictures on the docks,” Jabbour said. “Looks like we’re levitating on the water.”

But he adds that it’s all perspective.

“The real impact is a major inconvenience, but you can still come out and enjoy boating,” Jabbour said.

That’s what a girls volleyball team from Los Angeles tried to do Monday when they rented one of five pontoons from Bay to Bay, a business owned by Tom Jacob.

The girls toured the lake on a beautiful summer day, but the lake was eerily quiet without the buzzing of boats and jet skis.

“I feel bad for everybody on the lake, all the businesses on the lake,” said Jacob, whose business has been on the lake for 14 years. “Everybody has  a short season, obviously, and after the long winter, everyone was pretty excited about getting on the lake.”

Jacob and Jabbbour both say it’s a completely different kind of boating this season from what folks have come to expect on Lake Minnetonka.

Unfortunately, the no wake restrictions will likely stay in place through the Fourth of July holiday weekend. It could be weeks until water levels come down.

 

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