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No injuries or fatalities on North Cumberland during busy holiday weekend

HUNTSVILLE  |  There were no injuries or fatalities involving off-highway vehicles on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area over the busy Memorial Day weekend, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced Wednesday.

TWRA credited the tragedy-free weekend to the presence of law enforcement patrols and a new rule banning alcoholic beverages on the WMA. 

The agency steadily patrolled the 205,000-acre WMA throughout the four-day holiday period, which began Friday and ended Monday. A total of 242 OHVs were checked by law enforcement. Several citations were issued for violations including not possessing riding permits or helmet violations. In addition, 16 people were cited for alcohol possession. Two were arrested for driving under the influence.

“I want to commend the hard work of our officers and managers over the Memorial Day weekend,” Sgt. Dustin Burke said. “I feel that our presence and enforcement efforts led to a holiday weekend without a serious injury or fatal OHV accident on NCWMA.”

A new rule went into effect earlier this year banning alcohol possession and consumption on WMAs statewide. Alcohol possession is now permitted only at designated campgrounds, and on public waters that border or fall within a WMA. Drunken-disorderly behavior is also prohibited. The rules apply to all user groups, including hunters, hikers, OHV drivers and passengers, and others.

TWRA said the new rule banning alcohol possession was necessary due to the high rates of intoxicated trail riding on WMAs and frequent accidents involving alcohol.

Separately, Scott County Sheriff Brian Keeton told the Independent Herald that the only incident his officers responded to involving OHVs during the busy holiday weekend was an ATV that caught fire. 

The North Cumberland WMA attracts thousands of OHV enthusiasts from throughout the eastern U.S. each year, and combines with adjacent privately-owned areas like Brimstone and Windrock to make up what is arguably the premiere ATV destination in the eastern U.S.

However, there are several rules and regulations that drivers and their passengers need to know about, in addition to the new rule banning alcohol possession on the WMA: 

• On TWRA property, a state-issued high-impact habitat conservation permit is required for one occupant in each vehicle, or a valid hunting license and accompanying WMA hunting permit. 

• Helmets are not required for adults, but all drivers and passengers under age 18 must wear a helmet.

• In Scott County, public roads adjacent to the WMA are generally open for OHVs during daylight hours. When on the roadway, all drivers and riders must have a helmet, regardless of age. 

• By state statute, public roads close to OHVs at sunset. In the Town of Huntsville, there is a 10 p.m. curfew for OHVs on public roads.

GC Staff
GC Staff
Go Cumberlands is the premiere source of information for visitors to Tennessee's Cumberland Mountains and Cumberland Plateau region.

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