Members Of An ATV Club Appear In Court

By: Danielle Morgan Email
By: Danielle Morgan Email

Eighteen members of an eastern Kentucky ATV club say they didn't do anything wrong.

The members pleaded not guilty after being cited at Fishtrap Lake State Park in Pike County for riding ATV's.

They say, officials are to blame for mismanaging tourism dollars.

They were called individually, but stood united to plead not guilty.

Members of the Fishtrap Recreational Club were cited for riding through a wildlife protected area of Fishtrap Lake.

It’s a ride, that members say never intentionally took a bad trail.

“We were riding on county roads built by the county and we didn't venture off the trail. They're saying this is wildlife management area, there are no signs to that effect,” Gary Bevins said.

The problem is, managers for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, say the trails are in fact restricted because wildlife could be damaged.

“The project itself has a marked boundary as well as signs and gates stating off-road vehicle operation is prohibited and all vehicles are prohibited in certain areas,” Gene Davis said.

The club members say most of them are retired, life-long tax-paying, law-abiding citizens...just looking for a place to safely ride ATVs and enjoy what they worked all their life to do, relax

In fact Judge Kelsey Friend had to step down from the case, because he is also a member of the club.

“If I hadn't been in a wheelchair, I may well have been at this activity,” Judge Friend said.

Another member, Representative Keith Hall says these men are paying for tourism money appropriated years ago to build things like organized ATV trails, that's still sitting in the bank.

A jury trial for the 18 ATV club members is set for January 7th and will be heard by a different judge.

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