17.58.005    Definitions

17.58.010    Intent

17.58.020    Applicability

17.58.030    Nuisance

17.58.040    Definitions [Recodified as MSB 17.58.005]

17.58.050    Safety

17.58.060    Buoys and signs

17.58.070    Petition

17.58.080    Public hearing

17.58.090    Factors for designation

17.58.100    Limitation of motorized uses on designated lakes and waterways

17.58.110    Prohibition of motorized uses

17.58.120    Penalties [Repealed]

17.58.125    Violations, enforcement, and penalties

17.58.005 DEFINITIONS.

(A)    For the purpose of this chapter the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.

(1)    “Annoyance” means an actual interference with the sleep, work or reasonable right to peace, safety or privacy of one or more people.

(2)    “High-powered personal watercraft” means vehicles known as jet skis, wave runners and similar acrobatic or stunt equipment.

(3)    “Motorized use” means the operation of any equipment, watercraft or vehicle powered or propelled by a force other than human muscular power, gravity or wind including, without limitation, automobiles, aircraft, boats, personal watercraft, hydroplanes, all terrain vehicles, three-wheelers, motorcycles, snowmachines and stationary equipment such as generators and pumps.

(4)    “Special event permit” means a permit approved by the planning director for a special purpose and limited to a specific time to conduct an event that otherwise would involve activities in violation of one or more provisions of this chapter.

(5)    “Wake” means the track in the water left after the passage of a boat or other vehicle.

(6)    “Airboat” means a vessel that is primarily designed for use in shallow waters, supported by the buoyancy of its hull, and powered by a propeller or fan above the waterline. This definition should not be construed to mean a “hovercraft” that is supported by a fan-generated air cushion.

(Ord. 14-104, § 2, 2014; Ord. 93-132, § 2, 1993)

17.58.010 INTENT.

This chapter is intended to promote the safe, reasonable, wise and responsible use of the lakes and waterways in the borough in order to protect the general public’s health, safety and welfare, quality of life, neighborhood character, water quality, shorelines susceptible to erosion, water fowl and fish habitat, and recreation and tourism. It is not the intent of this chapter to prevent the reasonable incidental motorized use of waterbodies, properly authorized stream crossing, or water appropriations.

(Ord. 93-132, § 2, 1993)


Unless otherwise provided by code this ordinance shall apply only on those lakes, waterways, water-bodies and watercourses specified herein.

(Ord. 93-132, § 2, 1993)

17.58.030 NUISANCE.

The inconsiderate, reckless, irresponsible, unsafe, noisy operation of motorized uses on lakes and waterways within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough can damage valuable shorelines, waterways, water-fowl and fish habitat, prevent the reasonable enjoyment of private and public lands and waters by others, threaten the public health, safety, and welfare, inhibit and discourage reasonable residential, tourist and recreational uses which produce economic revenue and generally damage the quality of life and neighborhood character. Such uses are therefore declared to be a nuisance subject to regulation by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

(Ord. 93-132, § 2, 1993)

17.58.040 Definitions. [Recodified as MSB 17.58.005]

17.58.050 SAFETY.

Watercraft using lakes shall obey the inland rules of the road and small craft regulations as promulgated by the U.S. Coast Guard, including use of personal flotation devices. Lights are required on watercraft and vehicles during night operation.

(Ord. 93-132, § 2, 1993)

17.58.060 BUOYS AND SIGNS.

It is unlawful to strike, destroy, move, deface or otherwise tamper with floats, buoys, signs or other notices placed by or with the approval of city, borough, state or federal agencies.

(Ord. 93-132, § 2, 1993)

17.58.070 PETITION.

(A)    The manager, upon submittal of a report of a lake’s or waterway’s condition or use may petition the planning commission to hold a public hearing to determine whether to make a lake or waterway subject to the conditions of this chapter.

(B)    Any group of 20 or more residents or property owners of the borough may petition the planning commission to make a lake or waterway subject to the conditions of this chapter.

(Ord. 93-132, § 2, 1993)


Upon receipt of the manager’s or a group’s petition to designate a lake or waterway subject or not subject to the conditions of this chapter, the planning commission shall hold a public hearing and make a recommendation to the assembly concerning whether a lake or waterway should be subject or not subject to the conditions of this chapter.

(Ord. 93-132, § 2, 1993)


(A)    The planning commission shall consider the following factors when making its recommendation to the assembly:

(1)    the impact of the watercraft on the environment and shoreline;

(2)    the impact of the watercraft on wildlife and wildlife habitat;

(3)    the surface area of the lake or waterway being considered;

(4)    the use or uses which have been established on the lake or waterway;

(5)    the character of the adjacent upland development within 1,320 feet of the lake or waterway;

(6)    the depth of the water;

(7)    the amount of existing waterborne traffic;

(8)    the necessity of ensuring access to and use of the lake or waterway for all individuals and the right of those individuals to appropriate use of the public waters;

(9)    whether recommending that the lake or waterway be subject to this chapter is necessary to ensure the safety of persons and property;

(10)    public testimony; and

(11)    other appropriate factors.

(Ord. 93-132, § 2, 1993)


(A)    The limitations noted herein shall apply to motorized uses on the following lakes and waterways:

(1)    Cottonwood Lake;

(2)    Finger Lake; and

(3)    Wasilla Lake.

(B)    Noise control. All motorized uses on the surface of designated lakes and waterways must be equipped with manufacturers standard noise reduction equipment including mufflers, cowlings and exhaust systems. Special purpose or home-built equipment shall be similarly equipped to minimize noise generation. Open exhaust systems are prohibited. Except as otherwise required by Federal Aviation Administration or other state or federal law, aircraft operators shall minimize their take-off noise by utilizing the most central portions of lakes away from residences, business and public areas.

(C)    No-wake zone. There is hereby established a no-wake zone where speeds will not exceed 5 m.p.h. on designated lakes and waterways extending into the water from a shoreline, a horizontal distance of 100 feet. It is unlawful for a motorized use to operate at a speed of more than 5 m.p.h. within that zone so as to create wake. The no-wake zone may be extended or reduced as required to protect unusually sensitive wildlife habitat or reduced as required to protect unusually sensitive wildlife habitat or to provide access to erosion resistant shorelines or for other reasons as determined by the manager or the manager’s designee. The no-wake zone may be presumptively identified by appropriately labeled floating buoys.

(D)    Hours of operation. Motorized uses producing continuous or repetitive noise which is an annoyance to residents and/or other users of public areas is hereby prohibited between the hours of 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. Examples include uses such as high-speed joyriding, practicing aircraft “touch and goes,” engine testing, racing, and construction. Specifically, use of high-powered personal watercraft known as “jet skis” or “wave runners” and similar acrobatic or stunt equipment is prohibited between the hours of 11 p.m and 8 a.m. This restriction shall not be construed to prohibit the operation of aircraft, boats or other vehicles while transiting en route to their destinations, fishing or other quiet use is allowed, where such quiet uses cause no wakes and vessel operational speeds are 5 m.p.h. or less.

(E)    Special events permits. Organized group type motorized use of lakes and waterways such as races and demonstrations which would cause noise, safety hazards, or inhibit other uses of significant areas of the waterbody shall require special events permit from the borough. Special events permits may be issued by the planning director subject to the following criteria:

(1)    Event activities may be limited to specific hours in any one day.

(2)    Event activities may be limited to a maximum number of consecutive days.

(3)    Event activities may be limited to specific days of the week or month.

(4)    Event activities must be located so as to avoid hazard to or damage of sensitive wildlife habitat, erosion-prone shorelines, public swimming areas and residential areas.

(5)    Event activities must be located and conducted to minimize negative impact to residents and other users of the area.

(6)    Applications for special events permits shall be submitted to the borough on forms provided by the borough and shall be accompanied by an application fee as established by the assembly.

(7)    The special event permittee shall demonstrate that adequate insurance and appropriate safety measures are provided to protect participants, spectators and bystanders including marking of activity area, safety patrols and public notice.

(8)    A special event permit does not release the event organizers or participants from either rules or regulations of the cities, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, state of Alaska or the U.S. Government, especially the U.S. Coast Guard.

(Ord. 93-132, § 2, 1993; Ord. 90-91(sub), 1990; Ord. 82-15, 1982; Ord. 81-7, § 2, 1981)


(A)    Motorized vehicle uses are prohibited on Cottonwood Creek.

(B)    Airboat uses are prohibited on Finger Lake except that emergency rescue vehicles are allowed.

(1)    Airboats may only be operated on Finger Lake May 15th through June 7th and August 15th through August 25th.

(Ord. 14-104, § 3, 2014: Ord. 93-132, § 2, 1993)

17.58.120 Penalties. [Repealed by Ord. 95-088(SUB)(am), § 12 (part), 1995. For current provisions, see MSB 17.58.125]


(A)    Except as otherwise specified in this chapter violations of this chapter are infractions.

(B)    Remedies, enforcement actions, and penalties shall be consistent with the terms and provisions of MSB 1.45.

(Ord. 95-088(SUB)(am), § 28 (part), 1995)