Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
December 20, 2002
Contact: Trey Blocker
Phone: (512) 463-0130

Estes Comments on Banning ATVs from Riverbeds

AUSTIN - Legislation filed on Thursday by Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) and supported by agriculture interests, environmental advocates and state officials, will ban off-road vehicles from operating in public riverbeds.

Officials worry that use of riverbeds by all-terrain vehicles will cause irreversible damage to our fisheries, wildlife, and ultimately, the quality of our water. "I understand the concerns," said Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls). "Many of our farmers and ranchers have cited this as a problem that negatively impacts their irrigation systems, cattle, and private property rights."

Estes noted that this legislation would in no way prevent boats and other water craft from using public rivers, nor would it affect adjacent landowners' ability to drive in the riverbeds for reasonable purposes related to usual and customary agricultural purposes, for purposes related to mineral rights, or in the case of an emergency.

"It's clear that there are a few folks who have abused Texas waterways and forced this issue to the forefront," Estes said. "I will continue to monitor the situation and take input from constituents so that I can make the right decision at the appropriate time."