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Use Of ATVs At Enid Depends On Operator’s Responsibility

Park Ranger Chris Hannaford discusses ATV Safety and Environmental concerns with a group of ATV riders at Enid Lake.

By Frank Laster and
Chris Hannaford

 Enid Lake Park Rangers

Over the past several years, the recreational sport of All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) riding has become increasingly popular at Enid Lake.  This is due, in part, to the extended period of low water caused by the recent drought experienced throughout the southeast.  The numerous acres of mudflats and miles of shoreline provide great riding opportunities for ATV enthusiasts.  

The increased ATV traffic has prompted the Enid Lake staff to institute an educational campaign to remind users of the safety and environmental concerns associated with ATV usage.   Individuals and members of riding clubs are encouraged to participate in Tread Lightly!, Inc. which is an educational program dedicated to increasing the public’s awareness of how to enjoy the great outdoors while minimizing the impacts of recreational use.  

Also, Enid Lake Park Rangers are conducting ATV patrols on weekends for the purpose of educating and informing riders about the safe and proper use of ATVs on public lands.   

It is imperative that riders practice safety and follow all rules and regulations while riding or using ATVs for recreational or work-related purposes at Enid Lake.  According to Title 36, Rules and Regulations, it is unlawful to operate an ATV in a careless, negligent or reckless manner.

Operators who refuse to follow established rules and regulations will be cited and subject to pay all fines, appear before a Federal Magistrate or suffer banishment from Enid Lake or a combination of any of the above.  Strict enforcement of all rules and regulations is intended to provide a safe environment for ATV operation.  

Each year approximately 1.4 million visitors visit Enid Lake to get away from the everyday hustle and bustle of life, and to enjoy the many recreational opportunities awaiting them there, such as, camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, sightseeing, horseback riding, and ATV riding.      

Even though ATVs were built and designed for the effective navigation of rocky, muddy and root-covered terrain, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Enid Lake challenges all ATV riders to be environmentally conscious.  Misuse of these machines can cause rutting and destroy sensitive wetland habitat, erode creek banks, and even destroy native plant species allowing invasive plant species to take over.  We ask that all riders respect other visitors to the lake by avoiding areas such as campgrounds where visitors may be enjoying a peaceful and quiet camping experience and stream beds and creeks where anglers are fishing.  Streambed riding is prohibited as it damages and destroys the sensitive aquatic life of both plants and animals.  Be mindful of the fact that engine noise can startle livestock, so approach riders on horseback cautiously.  

The staff at Enid Lake wants each visitor to enjoy the many recreational opportunities and natural resources found at Enid Lake.  However, the future of ATV use at Enid Lake will depend on all ATV operators including: campers, hunters, anglers, and recreational riders.  Therefore, it is imperative that all ATV users practice responsible riding, respect other visitors, be environmentally conscious, and abide by all rules and regulations or risk the loss of the privilege of riding ATVs at Enid Lake.  

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