Theft, illegal dumping plus the destruction of equipment, parking lots, amenities, signs and fencing briefly summarizes the damage done to various Department operated boating accesses sites across the state. It is estimated that repairs and clean up at these facilities costs anglers, hunters and boaters tens of thousands of dollars annually, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
“It is unfortunate that there is a segment of the population who thinks it is acceptable to deface public property in these ways,” says Jeff Bishop, Boating Access Coordinator for the Wildlife Resources Division. “However, there are both legal and financial consequences, including prison time and fines for the violator.”
According to the Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Division, vandalism and/or destruction of government property of this nature could be considered a felony and punishable by up to 5 years in prison (not less than one year) and subject to heavy fines.
WRD currently operates approximately 150 boating access sites and strives to provide family friendly recreational opportunities boating enthusiasts; who include anglers, hunters, boaters and paddlers.
“Costs associated with the repair of vandalized sites hurts the boating community by diverting funds from the development of new opportunities and the improvement of existing sites; making it more difficult to meet the demand for recreational boating access,” said Bishop.
Witnesses to environmental crimes, such as vandalism or poaching, have the ability to help by reporting to the DNR Ranger Hotline at 1-800-241-4113 or through the website www.gadnrle.org/ranger-hotline .
For more information on boat ramps in Georgia, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/boating/opportunities .