Enid Lake

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 9, 2012

ATV future riding privileges at stake at Enid Lake

By Enid Lake Park Rangers

Volunteers Clean Enid Lake  

 The Enid Lake Volunteers for Waste Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Enid Lake conducted their 9th Annual Enid Lake Clean Up Day Saturday, February 25.

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Employees from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ferguson & Williams Inc. teamed up with 216 volunteers to clean and enhance Enid Lake’s shoreline and roadways and sustain Enid Lake’s beauty. A total of 50 compacted cubic yards of trash and debris along with 40 tires were picked up from Enid Lake’s roadways and shoreline.

The morning’s clean up was followed by a lunch prepared by volunteers, raffle drawings, and awarding of door prizes.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers thanks all volunteers who participated in the 2012 Clean Up Day, the many merchants who donated door prizes, and those who made cash contributions to the volunteer organization. Without the volunteers and generous merchants this event would not be possible. Enid Lake would also like to thank the Enid Lake Volunteers for Waste Management for their hard work and dedication in coordinating and planning a great event for a great cause.

ATV’s and the Great Outdoors

Over the past several years, the recreational sport of All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) riding has become increasingly popular at Enid Lake.  The numerous acres of mudflats and miles of shoreline during low lake levels provide great riding opportunities for ATV enthusiasts.  

However, 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.  

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 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 36, it is unlawful to operate an ATV in a careless, negligent or reckless manner.

“SKIMMING”, which is motoring an ATV to a high rate of speed, and hydroplaning across water, is a violation of CFR Title 36.  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.

Even though ATVs are fun and exciting to ride and are very helpful pieces of equipment for many workers on the job, they are and can be extremely dangerous when operated incorrectly. Over the past few weekends at Enid Lake there have been several ATV accidents with operators sustaining serious injuries.

Accidents can be avoided if riders follow a few basic safety suggestions. Before operating an ATV, it is recommended that you take an approved training course.  

Riders should always wear the appropriate safety gear with the most important being a helmet to protect your head and goggles to keep debris out of your eyes.  Riders should familiarize themselves with the area they will be riding and always keep in mind their riding skills as well as the ATV’s limits.  Never allow children to operate ATVs intended for adult operation, and never allow or participate in any form of horseplay while operating an ATV.

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, such as, camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, sightseeing, horseback riding, and ATV riding.  

Although each visitor comes to enjoy something different; they all have one common goal and that is to enjoy and utilize the great outdoors. With this in mind, we must also remind visitors that the public lands surrounding Enid Lake are for everyone’s enjoyment and it is the responsibility of each visitor to protect and preserve our public lands, and to respect other users.

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.  

We would also like to encourage riders to be respectful and avoid riding on private property adjacent to public lands without permission from landowners, and to carry trash bags and transport all refuse with you at the end of the day.

The staff at Enid Lake wants each visitor to enjoy the many recreational opportunities and natural resources found at Enid Lake. The future of ATV use at Enid Lake depends on the conduct of all ATV operators.

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.  Remember, every time we step into a forest or wetland we run the risk of changing the environment.  Do your part and leave the area better than you found it for future outdoor enthusiasts.  

For more information on ATV riding at Enid Lake please contact the Enid Lake
Field Office at 662-563-4571.  ATV riding information can also be obtained through Tread Lightly at www.treadlightly.org or the ATV Safety Institute at www.atvsafety.org.