NAMPA, Idaho -- While the start of summer is still a few months off, boating season is already here. Lake Lowell opened up to boating on Sunday.

The Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge also re-opened the Lower Dam Recreation Area, Gotts Point to the first parking lot and all boat ramps. Boat ramps are available at the east and west ends of the Upper Dam, the Lower Dam Recreation Area, and Parking Lots 1 and 7 on the lake's south side.

If you do set out for recreation on the lake, the Refuge is reminding you to follow all regulations. Boaters are also asked to remember to slow down for wildlife. The no wake zone on the east end of the lake provides an area for water birds and bald eagles to nest and feed with minimal disturbance.

For now, those are the only regulations in place. But federal law requires a final management plan for Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge to be submitted this year. Residents are concerned the new plan could restrict access to Lake Lowell. Refuge officials, on the other hand, say the area is governed by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, which doesn't allow unfettered recreation at the expense of wildlife.

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