Residents in and around Bear Creek Basin would like to share some serious concerns about the invasion of ATV use south of the train tracks and west of Ely Road.
An extensive area of land, which includes the old limestone quarry, has become a crisscross of trails created by unauthorized all-terrain vehicles. These riders have already severely scarred the land. As many as 20 to 25 riders at a time can be seen there days and sometimes very late at night.
The roar and the whine of the ATVs are shattering the peace of local residents and are in clear violation of the noise ordinance. (Hannibal Sec 16-163)
Violations of three State laws have also been observed: operating an off-road vehicle within a stream, operators below the age of 18 driving without a fastened safety helmet, and ATV’s operating on streets in the city. (304.013, RSMo, articles 1, 2 and 4)
This newspaper has run two articles about regional ATV accidents recently, one resulting in a child’s death. This municipal property is clearly a serious liability for the City of Hannibal. It is just a matter of when, not if, an accident will occur.
The impact to the sensitive environment bordering Bear Creek is of particular concern. This is a flood zone and the severe compaction of soil caused by ATV traffic makes the soil less able to absorb flood waters.
It is high time for the City to post signs and step-up enforcement.
There are numerous sanctioned trails in Northeast Missouri which allow for safe and responsible ATV use. Let’s keep these riders safe and within the law.