Following a well-attended final public hearing in Springfield last week, the state Aviation Board can go into decision-making mode about the extent to which seaplanes will be allowed on Waldo Lake — although it may take months for the matter to be resolved.
One option may be that the Legislature takes up the topic during its 2013 session, which runs now through the early summer.
The board is scheduled to hold its next public meeting in late March or early April at the Salem Convention Center, where the panel could address the issue.
The board could reaffirm the temporary rules it approved last year that allow seaplanes, with some restrictions, on the secluded, pristine body of water in the Cascade Range. Or the board could tweak the restrictions.
Or it could decide to ban seaplane use of the lake, as the majority of those testifying Thursday urged.
Aviation Board Chairman Mark Gardiner said the public comment would "of course" play a role in the board's decision. Gardiner added that he needs to have discussions with his fellow board members in coming weeks to see what options they want to explore.
Reaffirming the temporary rules — the proposal the board initially put forward — would allow seaplanes on Waldo but ban use of the lake for pilot training; limit planes to landing or taking off between 8 am or 30 minutes after sunrise, whichever is later, and 8 pm or 30 minutes before sunset, whichever is earlier; restrict landings to the eastern half of the lake; ban high-power taxiing in the water except where required for safety; require pilots to look for and remove invasive species from their aircraft before using the lake; and require pilots to notify the state Department of Aviation whenever they use the lake.
Mitch Swecker, director of the Department of Aviation, said the department's staff has not yet been instructed by the board to examine other options.
Gardiner said the board also needs to keep an eye on developments in the state Legislature that could supercede any decision they made. No bill introduced so far for the 2013 legislative session deals with the issue, but Gardiner said he believed that such a proposal may be introduced.
Gardiner added that, with Waldo Lake now frozen over, "This isn't necessarily real urgent."
"We will continue to examine the issue," he said.