Questions raised over citations issued near Comite River
ZACHARY- A property owner in East Baton Rouge Parish claims State Wildlife Agents trespassed on his property last week, when they issued tickets to five people riding all terrain vehicles on his property.
Shane Rush said he gave the five people permission to be there.
"They ride up and down looking for people on ATVs," Rush said. "But they are on ATVs themselves. You would think if they were trying to protect the environment, you would think they wouldn't dare enter the river on an ATV."
Rush believes his property line extends to the River. He said the section of the River is private since it's not a navigable waterway.
Property owners claim for the state to patrol this section of the Comite river, it has to be navigable. As you can see we're in the middle of the river. It's not navigable. You can't even float a boat down it.
"It's very concerning because it's part of a pattern of LDWF reaching beyond it's authority to seize private property," Rush's attorney Donna Grodner said. "To violate civil rights with doing searches and seizures without getting a warrant."
Donna Grodner is representing Shane Rush in a lawsuit that is currently pending in State District Court. Tonight, she's worried other landowners could be affected as State Wildlife Agents continue to issue citations on property like her client's.
"I believe it's my property, and they are determined to control it," Rush said. "I'm a problem to them in terms of their power."
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries released the following statement:
"On Aug. 22 around 12:45 p.m. LDWF agents witnessed the five subjects access and ride up a restricted part of the Comite River that falls under scenic river regulations. They did not have permission for this part of the river and their activity of riding in the river both qualified as violating scenic river regulations. Scenic river regulations prohibit the use of a motor vehicle or other wheeled or tracked vehicle on a designated system stream, except for permitted uses and direct crossings by immediately adjacent landowners, lessees, and persons who have written permission from the landowner for non-commercial activities that do not significantly degrade the ecological integrity of the stream."