Wagoner County Public Access Area May Be Closed Due To Illegal Dumping
WAGONER COUNTY -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is having a big problem with illegal dumping and shooting on its property at the Bluegill Point Public Access Area east of Broken Arrow in Wagoner County.
The area is located at the end of 71st Street at the Verdigris River on the west side of the Corps' Lock and Dam 18.
"Our primary concern is the safety of others and the sanitation of this area," said Jonathan Polk, the lead ranger at the Fort Gibson Lake project office, which has oversight of the access area.
According to a news release from the Corps, U.S. Title 36 prohibits the dumping of any household or commercial garbage, trash, rubbish, debris, dead animals or litter of any kind and the discharge of firearms, unless in designated target areas, on Corps of Engineers project lands.
Officials say after an incident in 2006, in which someone fired a shot that struck a building's door across the dam, the Corps cleaned up the area and placed signs designating the access area as a safe zone, which means no discharging of firearms, but it continues to be a problem with new signs being shot and dumping taking place again.
Fort Gibson Lake manager Tom Heathcock says the problem with the area is that it is remote and isolated.
"We've spent a considerable amount of time and money trying to maintain this area to provide a recreational opportunity for the public," said Heathcock. "If the problem continues, we may have no other alternative but to close the area to vehicles, which would impact local fisherman and others that want to use the area."
Heathcock says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking for a group or organization to help it maintain the access area and keep it from being closed to vehicle traffic.
You can call the Fort Gibson Lake office at 918-682-4314.