Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Keep your Wheels off the Rivers!

As a volunteer member of the board of directors at the Hammond River Angling Association I hear about many of the complaints regarding illegal behavior along the river.  I know Conservation and Enforcement officers are working hard to combat offenders in order to protect the river and the environment.   We should all want the waters to be protected and enjoyed responsibly so that the fish species can thrive and the sport of fishing remain strong for years to come.
There have been a lot of people charged recently under the Tresspass Act for operation of a motor vehicle in a watercourse.  Some of these folk have had their vehicle confiscated as a result.   Anyone riding ATVs, motorbikes, or even trucks across or through the river is breaking the law.   I didn't know that myself until recently, but it makes sense, and ignorance of the law is no excuse!
Section 5(1c) states:
    - No person shall trespass by means of a motor vehicle in a watercourse. 

“watercourse” means the full length and width of any river, creek, stream, spring, brook, lake, pond, reservoir, canal, ditch or other natural or artificial channel that is open to the air and includes the bed, banks, sides and shoreline.

So that is pretty clear.... keep your wheels out of the water.   Riding through the rivers absolutely tear up the grounds where fish live and spawn, and for a river as fragile as the Hammond that is a huge deal.  I know this may upset those who enjoy the sport of ATV'ing or off roading.    However, off roading can certainly be enjoyed without tearing up the river beds and destroying fish habitats.

Here is a link to a great flyer aimed at educating folk as to the problems caused by riding ATV's through water courses.  

If you know someone is breaking this law and feel comfortable and safe taking a picture that shows the offense and the vehicle's license plate, you could do so and turn the picture over to the Department of Public Safety / Conservation office through your local DNR office, or you can contact CrimeStoppers.   I certianly would if I were a witness to this behavior.

The second big issue that is being found is garbage littering the river area where a lot of people enjoy fishing.   Especially from the Deep Hole up to the French Village Covered bridge, there is garbage and even broken bottles in and around the river.

Please clean up your garbage when your out either fishing, hiking, off roading, or whatever.   If you see garbage around, help out and clean some up, even if it isn't yours!   To help in these efforts, the Hammond River Angling Association will be doing a clean up day this weekend and all are invited to come and help out!   Details of this event is as follows

June 13th
8:00AM – 12:00PM
Come out and help clean up our river, then join us for a BBQ and refreshments after.
Please wear suitable clothing, gloves and footwear etc.
At 8am we will be meeting at the Center, organizing clean-up crews, distributing supplies and then car-pooling to the clean-up sites. We’ll be meeting back at the center before noon to finish up the day and start the BBQ.
Please contact Steve @ 651-1468 or for more info.

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