Adding amenities: Kayak rentals coming to Claremore Lake

A rule barring kayak rentals on Claremore Lake has been lifted.

An ordinance was reviewed this week that would change a Claremore Parks and Recreation regulation.

Joe Kays, director of the Parks and Rec Department said the existing ordinance essentially prevented the owners of watercraft, like kayaks, from renting them out for use.

“What we’re looking at is allowing people to rent kayaks, which has been asked about. We’ve allowed individuals to have and use them, but as far as an organization or business renting them, that was prohibited in the ordinance,” Kays said. ”So, we’re just allowing to send out a request for proposals to individuals and businesses that have kayaks and want to rent them out. There will be qualifications they have to meet and we’ll enter into a contract with them. Individuals can still use their own, that won’t change at all, it will just allow a business to rent them.”

When it came time to present the proposed change to Claremore City Council, two members of the community signed up to speak their mind.

“I live on Claremore Lake and my husband and I both love kayaking. We are on the lake as much as we possibly can be with the kayaks. We enjoy being plugged into all the activities on the lake...,” she said, before responding to a concern posed by a council member. “To address a concern about motorized boats on the lake, because Claremore is a smaller lake, we won’t have quite as much traffic as some of the larger lakes. But I love that the city is prepared to go to the experts on figuring out exactly what would work for our size and what we have.”

She continued, “This opportunity for the city of Claremore, for the citizens, for business here, has been something that’s been in discussion for a long time.”

She said she’s spoken with several city leaders and has worked with the Claremore Collective’s government relations crew.

“This has been in discussion and problem solving and figuring things out as far as what would be required from a liability standpoint and what would just make us really accessible to promote more outdoor activities in Claremore, to promote the healthy living that comes with that, to create more tourism, and to give Claremore more things to do both now and for generations to come.”

Lauren Garrison is the owner of the Mayberry Mansion, a local landmark turned Airbnb.

“Since our investment into the town and tourism we have become very aware of things to do for our guests who are in from out of town. I think this is a great opportunity to be able to change the ordinances,” Garrison said. “Every time I go to Claremore Lake—It’s always beautiful. There are always people there, families at the splash pad. It’s always gorgeous, any time of year. I would really like to encourage and support the change of ordinance so this can happen especially for people like me who live 15 minutes away. I don’t want to buy my own kayak. I don’t want to pack it up and get it there. And for my out of town guests who are staying at the Mayberry Mansion, this is a great opportunity to just show up, pay the cost, strap on your life jacket and have a good time.”

In presenting the change to the council, interim Director of Planning & Development Kyle Clifton said the current ordinance prohibited Parks and Rec staff from adding watercraft amenities to the existing offerings at Claremore Lake.

He explained that after a third-party vendor was chosen, that business would be responsible for procurement, maintenance and operation of the rental facility.

The ordinance received unanimous approval from the council, who said they would seek further information regarding liability during the RFP process.

For more information on Claremore Lake boating permits and rules, visit claremorecity.com.

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