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Getting Tough to Protect Alapaha River

By: Bill Pearson
By: Bill Pearson

The Alapaha River stretches from south Georgia through Hamilton County, Florida and into the Suwannee River.

It’s a popular place for folks who enjoy riding their four wheelers or dirt bikes up and down the river's banks, but engineers like David Still with the Suwannee River Water Management District say it’s time to enforce the law that prevent ATV use along the river.

David Still of the Suwannee River Water Management District says, "The Department of Environmental Protection did a study that shows the detrimental effects of the four wheeling, and we think it’s in the best interest of all, for the economy of the area, for the resources to be protected.”

All the ATV activity has caused a significant amount of erosion throughout the Alapaha River basin, including the section where nearly six feet of dirt has been wiped away by all the traffic. Now, Hamilton County Sheriff J. Harrell Reid says its a problem his department is going to take seriously.

"Those people in the river abused it, eroded the banks. We've also had accidents in there where we've had to go in there and rescue people, so it’s an important thing," he says.

Meaning during the next few weeks, warnings will be issued to ATV riders who are caught violating the law, riding up and down the river's banks with their four wheelers and dirt bikes. After that, tickets will be issued.

Engineers say ATV riders currently threaten the future of not only the Alapaha River, but the larger Suwannee River as well.


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