View Full Version : Deputies sweep popular ATV-riding site
04-05-2006, 09:20 AM
Monday, March 27, 2006
All was quiet Sunday throughout the white, dough-like sand dunes and abandoned, rusting train tracks that make up the Railhead Scrub Preserve, an irresistible tract on the Lee/Collier County border for all-terrain vehicle motorists to ride and play.
The ATV hot-spot, part of the Conservation Collier property off Old 41 Road, usually plays host to 20 to 30 motorists on any given weekend — especially on a perfectly clear, cool day like Sunday, Collier County sheriff's deputies said.
Even though the roughly 1-by-one-half mile parcel was strangely silent, the telltale signs of illegal motorists laid scattered across the ground throughout the preserve.
"They must have known we were coming," Collier County sheriff's Deputy Carmine Marceno said, examining a heap of empty beer bottles, cans and other debris.
Fortunately, Marceno said, awareness was the goal of Sunday's sweep operation at the preserve. Mission accomplished, he said.
Responding to dozens of complaints received from nearby residents and business owners, deputies blanketed the area Sunday hoping to issue trespassing warnings to ATV riders who frequent the area. What they found instead was one rider, who proceeded to call 20 of his friends he said were "on their way" to ride in the preserve.
"We'd rather get everyone aware and educated and not have anyone out here to ticket," Marceno said. "Through public awareness, we'll hopefully obtain compliance."
ATV riding is illegal in most places throughout Collier County. There are some areas in Big Cypress National Preserve that are open to hunters riding ATVs, but rules make it difficult for young people and families to ride, said Rick Varela, an ATV rider in Naples.
Until 2003, deputies and the few, scattered neighbors near the preserve turned their heads on ATV riding in the open field, which also houses a nomadic homeless camp and a variety of wildlife. But when development began blossoming around the riders' haven, complaints rolled in, and deputies were forced to take action.
"We tell them that they've got to respect someone's property," Sheriff's Office Cpl. Jerry Gallagher said. "It's not us here coming to challenge (ATV riders). It's us responding to complaints."
Complaints come from business owners like Bill Chapin, owner of Chapin Investments. They range from noise to pollution to environmental disruption.
"It's great these guys (deputies) are out here," Chapin said of Sunday's enforcement effort. "This has been going on for three years, and it's gotta stop.
"Hopefully this will end it today."
Varela said he understands Chapin's complaints, and believes deputies should enforce trespassing laws on riders. The only solution for him and fellow ATV enthusiasts: identify a non-intrusive parcel for riders and regulate it properly.
"I think this just emphasizes how important not having a legal riding area is to us," Varela said. "Police did the right thing, because riders shouldn't trespass, but there's nowhere to ride here."
Gallagher said county and state officials are working to identify a site for legalized ATV riding, but so far, no place has proved acceptable.
Enthusiasts had hoped a portion of the Picayune Strand State Forest, located in Southern Golden Gate Estates, would work as a rider-friendly area. But officials with the Army Corps of Engineers ruled Feb. 23 that the area would not be compatible with the vehicles, leaving riders stranded once again.
"I really do feel for the (ATV riders), because the spaces they are able to utilize are limited," Marceno said. "But safety is an issue, and we want to make people aware of what they can and can't do."
By Jennifer Brannock
04-05-2006, 09:32 AM
Quote[/b] (Bonnie George @ April 05 2006,09:20)]ATV riding is illegal in most places throughout Collier County. There are some areas in Big Cypress National Preserve that are open to hunters riding ATVs, but rules make it difficult for young people and families to ride, said Rick Varela, an ATV rider in Naples.
I think I may see a loop hole if you have a hunters license. http://www.floridatrailriders.org/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/17.gif
Quote[/b] (Bonnie George @ April 05 2006,09:20)]"I really do feel for the (ATV riders), because the spaces they are able to utilize are limited," Marceno said. "But safety is an issue, and we want to make people aware of what they can and can't do."
They misspelled the word "limited" in that sentence. The correct spelling is "NONEXISTENT"!
I'm sure when Mr. Chapin begins developing this property, he will continue to be just as sensitive to the nearby residents and the existing foliage. He will not use heavy machinery to remove every bit of native plant-life, as that would make too much noise. Instead he will hire the homeless people who live on the property to do it by hand. They will not be paid, but instead will be offered a three-percent discount on the purchase price of a home in the new community, with starting prices in the high-$900k range.
04-05-2006, 10:58 AM
Not sure why this and every negative thing ATV'ers do is posted here. Is it to learn? and what is it we are learning? So far it seems every article posted depicts ATV'ers in a negative way. There have been many trash pick-ups by ATV'ers trying to shed a positive light on the hobby. I don't recall seeing any of those articles.
Each posting of this nature is like being stabbed in the chest. Who knows, maybe we will bleed out one day. http://www.floridatrailriders.org/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif
04-05-2006, 11:06 AM
It's posted to inform all OHV riders of the loss of land and the need to do as much as possible to help prevent further loss. ?We should all use it as a stimulus to get off our butt, write letters, and attend meetings where land use is being discussed.
Unfortunately, ATV'ers and bikers picking up trash doesn't sell newspapers. If you have an article from a publication that presents some good news, post it. ?
04-05-2006, 11:17 AM
Scott, Hunting season is not a loophole since it entails specific hunting season constraints. ?Plus, if hunters observed atv riders just playing around I'm sure they would take their own enforcement measures to resolve the problem. ?Remember that ever popular 1972 Burt Reynolds movie, Deliverance? ? Da, Da, Da, Da, Daaa.
Like Larry said, we need to get more quad riders involved in the proceedings is you want something positive done. ?Look at all the quads that ride Croom with no connections to FTR. ?I've seen FTR postings up there and in the OAS shop with no real results. That's an untapped source just waiting for some direction. ?Someone mentioned that many quad riders and famalies don't care to race, but I'm sure they care about having more ridings areas. ?They don't have to race to be club members or just ride bikes like many seem to think.
04-05-2006, 11:23 AM
Actually Mr. Chapins' comment, "it's been going on for 3 years" is incorrect. That particular spot has been a haven for riders for over 40 years. Long before the Developers came around and bulldozed off the 'other' pristine scrub jay habitat.
Down here if you want to develop sensitive land you go into 'mitigation'. What that means is you must provide alternate land for the land you want to destroy. If you don't have any the State will sell you some of the land they have already been given, that belongs to you!, and let you give it to them again.
They've learned well from the likes of the Flaglers. Land is much better if you can sell it twice!
Off-Road Organizations would do well to buy up as much otherwise worthless land as they can get ahold of. These lands are becoming worth more than buildable land with the States bribary schemes.
We had 55,000 acres down here to ride, hunt, fish, and camp on until Jan. 3rd 2005 when the Federal Govt. closed it all off as part of the Everglades Restoration Project, which no one really knows what to do or how to do it. Most computer models show the proposed work as creating flooding elsewhere on developed lands. Now the Gov. wants to include this land into the 'Mitigation' pool so you can purchase credits against destroying other lands. This is the land your tax dollars already paid for! Now if you want you can buy it again and destoy at will!
04-05-2006, 01:41 PM
Thomas, I was not to be taken seriously, I guess you missed the end of my statement where I put-------> http://www.floridatrailriders.org/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/17.gif
Quote[/b] ]the State will sell you some of the land they have
The State??? Water Management District, DEP, State Parks??? Who are we talking about ?
04-05-2006, 03:53 PM
Scott, Your right, I missed the point of the picture. Carry on.
04-05-2006, 04:13 PM
More and more ATV'ers are fighting for riding privileges around the state every chance they get. There are a few ATV sights filled with ATV members that fight without the help of FTR or AMA. They are people like me, like you, that go to rallies/protests and fight to ride. As an avid outdoorsman and knower of not much, I think they should be praised instead of always condemned.
If people did studies, like they say they do, they would see that OHV "damage" grows back. Whereas the Walmart they approved just stripped land to the bare dirt.
What can FTR do to help this fight to ride? I origianlly joined because I thought I would have a much stronger voice belonging to Florida largest off-road club. Am I way off base for even asking what our club does to help ensure our future? I am totally serious and not trying to be funny.Definitly not trying to offend, but rather be educated. Just asking. I remember a law being passed last year or the one before called the Mark T Schmitt OHV law. It is law that the state of Florida provide at least 5 OHV parks around the state. Nothing has been done to date as far as I know. National forests don't count either. Neither does private property. These are to be state owned parks. I paid a registration fee for what? when I bought my quads. For What? What happened to the law?
(Sorry for the rant, I just got home from work and want to ride)
04-05-2006, 04:51 PM
OHV RECREATION MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP will be held in Ocala, Florida
May 1-4, 2006
One of the highlights will be the Florida T. Mark Schmidt OHV Safety & Recreation Act of 2002 by Chris Reed, OHV Coordinator, FDACS – Division of Forestry
Reviewing current county, state and federal laws, policies, regulations and planning efforts and State compliance with the T. Mark Schmidt OHV Safety and
Recreation Act of 2002;
These would be the people to contact for more information:
Link to Workshop (http://www.nohvcc.org/photos/FLregs.pdf)
04-05-2006, 05:14 PM
The State of Florida owns the land i'm referring to (Picayune State Forest) and there just may be a lawsuit filed in the near future. Collier County gave this land to the State with the stipulation the State create an ORV park, which after a year and a half they haven't even begun.
DEP, SFWMD, and the ARMY Corp. has signed off on many PUDs for development though during that time.
A State Forest Biologist, who just happened to have been a FTR member, was even fired from his job when he brought to light how the Forest Service corrupts the data regarding Panther habitat down here so that land can be more easily developed or closed down.
Money is what it's all about. The land we ride on is more valuable to others that what we can afford to pay to ride. After being involved with groups that have fought to keep riding areas open for some years I have come to the conclusion that there are only two real solutions to keep riding areas.
. Purchase Swampland that can be used to 'Mitigate' riding land.
. Work to adopt Legislation that will protect Landowners from frivolous Liability issues. There are many Landowners that would allow riding for pay and even for free if they didn't have the Liability. It's what stopped us at Clewiston after many years of holding events there.
There is money available from the T. Mark Schmitt bill for any Landowner that will apply for the grants. Our County wants to but every time they identify a piece of land the local environmentalists pitch a fit and get it stopped. Just like at Lake City.
It really starts at the local level. The squeeky wheel gets the grease. The "greenies' are well organized, funded, and their opposition rarely attends any local meetings. Rallies are great for getting the newspaper people out there but nothing really happens at them. Local Government meetings is where it takes place and I have rarely seen the rally-goers there.
It also takes a concerted effort by riders to show the public our sport is a good one. This means proper riding gear, decent sound levels, respect of private property, and a desire to educate the new rider what a 'Responsible Motorcyclist' is. Too often we fufill the prophecy of POGO;
"We have met the enemy, and he is us".
It also takes a concerted effort by riders to show the public our sport is a good one. This means proper riding gear, decent sound levels, respect of private property, and a desire to educate the new rider what a 'Responsible Motorcyclist' is. Too often we ?fufill the prophecy of POGO;
"We have met the enemy, and he is us".
Thats a fact, the mess you find out at 5A/mims drives me nutz, but its not just ohv's , we took the family out to haul over canal fishing a couple of weeks back if i could get a $ for every beer bottle i saw laying in bushes i would be buying my own island and shipping over a front end loader for my own track............Here in orlando we used to have a riding spot down by the home depot, till that land was developed, the new spot is now less than a mile from my house on ..... anyway its starting to fill up on the weekends, not a problem, except for the bikers and quads that think its ok to wheelie up and down the side of a State Road its only a matter of time before someone complains and the DOT comes out and puts a fence up to keep us out (dot owns the land). Now when i tryed to explain that to a young guy (no helmet shorts and tennis shoes on a $6000 quad) last weekend, he shrugged his shoulders and proceded to laugh and do donuts much to the amusement of his friends.
Lets not be our own worst enemy and try and use a little common sense.
http://www.floridatrailriders.org/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laug.gif http://www.floridatrailriders.org/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/signs124.gif http://www.floridatrailriders.org/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/4a.gif http://www.floridatrailriders.org/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/slider.gif
All of you are right...I was invovled along with JAck Terrell and many other people in the attempt to get an ATV/Dirt Bike PArk in St. Lucie Co. Unfortunately due to Hurricanes and alot of politics we weren't successful. But it is coming up again as there is an election for two of the commissioners and it has been brought up by one of the candidates at this point.
I fully agree with the comment that there seems to be only negative ATV articles in the media. I also agree with the comment about the large number of ATV owners who aren't part of FTR or the AMA or any other organization. In fact the number of ATV owners who aren't members of any organization would probably shock all of us. I myself have bought a sport quad and want to run some quad scrambles but due to work and other issues haven't been able to participate yet. (key word yet)
I am also invovled with a private facility as the atv representative. My point of all this is that there needs to be a state wide organization that represents the recreational atv riders. I have sent this suggestion to the entire board of FTR. Why...why shouldn't a well established organization like FTR represent the state wide recreational riders. I know there is alot of feeeling between the dirt bikes and quads I rode dirt bikes when I wasn't an old fat man. Now I ride quads. The bottom line is look at the facts look at the sales numbers for ATV's in this state. Last I saw we were ranked 3rd in the country...think about that. And what do we all want..somewhere to ride or race...It is the same thing..Imagine adding thousands of members to the organization and hiring needed lobbyist etc.
You all have hit on key things but the single related thing is there is a huge number of recreational riders out there who want places to ride and need a state wide organization to represent them.
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