Neighbors near Comite River want riders kicked off river
POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 8:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 12:39am
ZACHARY, LA (NBC33) — Update: Bo Boehringer, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries issued a clarification to their stance on ATV use in the Comite River. For the clarification click here.
Original: People living along the Comite River are fighting to keep ATV's out of the water and off of their beaches.
“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.
Property owners said riders are ruining the "scenic river" and they've had enough.
The Comite River is usually a quiet serene place, but on the weekend things change.
“There is just no peace. On a Friday or Saturday night there is no peace at all," Debbie Pearson,
People living along the river say ATV riders come up on their private beaches
"It's infuriating,” Michiels stated. “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."
Pearson said drivers leave behind trash and the tires from trucks tear up the terrain.
"It's really intrusive and offensive. I'll admit it I'm a tree hugger, and it's very offensive to me to see a beautiful spot be ruined," Pearson said.
“Sometimes they do have litter brigades. The four wheelers know themselves that they have trashed the river when they say lets all get together and go up and down the river to clean it up,” Michiels explained.
Property owners said most of the time riders are respectful and turn around when asked to leave.
Other drivers take it too far.
“I said I was going to call the police, and the woman grabbed my phone and threw it in the river," Michiels said.
Property owners tried calling law enforcement.
"The police are very good about coming down but by the time they get here whoever was here ripping and roaring is gone," Michiels said.
The Comite River is part of the state's scenic river program designed to help protect the environment there. Bo Boehringer, with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said right now it's not technically illegal to ride in the river itself.
People who live along the river hope the state will change the rules before the river gets ruined.
"The river is a scenic river it's a beautiful river I would love to have them enjoy it. I wish they would buy a kayak," Michiels said.
Boehringer explained in a proposal to open public discussion on a possible rule change to ban ATV use in and along the river was brought before the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. The issue was tabled. Beringer explained the issue could be brought up again at a later date.