ATVs could soon face restrictions, partial ban from Scenic River system

ATVs could soon face restrictions, partial ban from Scenic River system
Photo provided by staff.

POSTED: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 3:00pm

UPDATED: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 4:45pm

ATVs and other motor vehicles could soon be prohibited from specific areas of the Scenic River system, which includes roughly 3,000 miles of waterways.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries approved a notice of intent to amend the current rules, which do not specifically call for any vehicle restrictions along the designated areas. However, the proposed changes could end that.

“Some of the changes include prohibiting the use of a motor vehicle or other wheeled or tracked vehicle on a designated system stream, except for permitted uses and direct crossings by immediately adjacent landowners, lessees, and persons who have written permission from the landowner for non-commercial activities that do not significantly degrade the ecological integrity of the stream,” states the Notice of Intent.

In addition, a permit would be required for a houseboat or floating camp.

“A permit or letter of certification from the parish health unit, verifying an approved sewerage disposal system is on board, would also be required,” the states the NOI.

Residents surrounding the Comite River, which is included in the Scenic River system, have complained about ATV riders. They say they travel along their private beaches and create a mess in their wake.

“They are going up and down here [on the river]. There is more traffic down here than there is on Plank Road,” Melinda Michiels, owns a home on the Comite River, explained in a past interview with NBC33 News. "It's infuriating. I can't imagine that any of these people would like to come home to me riding around in my four wheeler in their yard or sitting out in their pool."

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, is in agreement, but for a different reason.

"We believe that this activity, ATV or other wheeled or tracked vehicles use in the Comite River, does have the potential for significant ecological degradation of the river,” Bo Boehinger, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, told NBC33 News.

However, the homeowners were first to bring the issue to light.

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