Wilmette Park District to Discuss Ways to Decongest Gillson Park Beach Monday
As stand-up paddle boarding gains popularity many sailors say they cause safety hazards for sail boats returning to shore.
More than 400 boats and dozens of paddle board users call the beach near Gillson Park home during the summer and Wilmette Park District will be discussing three options to decongest the water-activity traffic during Monday’s parks and recreation committee meeting.
Wimette resident Chris Dewey, 53, who’s been sailing from the designated sailing beach since 1986 told Chicago Tribune that he saw many close calls between sailors and stand-up paddle boarders last summer, because it’s hard for returning sailors to see paddle boarders when they are not standing up and it’s hard for returning sail boats to move around obstacles in shallow water since they must lift their rudders.
Kathy Bingham, superintendent of recreation with Wilmette Park District, says it’s not a problem if sailors can see paddle boarders but beginner paddle boarders are in the water a lot and sailors are afraid of hurting them, Chicago Tribune reports.
Among the options the park district is looking at include moving paddleboard users to the South Beach non-swimming area or moving paddleboard use to Langdon Beach—both options have potential problems and staff is researching the options before sharing it with the park board’s recreation committee on March 18, Wilmette Life reported.