With the Memorial Day Holiday fast approaching, Wildlife Officers of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are already making plans for this year's first major holiday. According to Lt. Steve Taylor, plans are in the making to bring in several Wildlife officers from other parts of the state to help in patrolling the popular Spring River in Fulton and Sharp counties during the Memorial Day weekend. Lt. Taylor stated that this holiday is perhaps the busiest holiday of the year on the river and they will have officers both on the river in canoes and on the bank to try and curtail some of the many complaints that are normally received during this holiday. Wildlife Officers will be enforcing all Game and Fish regulations, with major emphasis also being placed on enforcement of drug and unruly behavior problems.
Lt. Taylor also stated that special emphasis would also be placed on a state law pertaining to the possession or use of glass containers on waterways. The law states that except for certain exemptions, no person shall possess or use glass containers within a vessel that is susceptible to swamping, tipping, or rolling. This includes inner tubes, kayaks and canoes. Other parts of this law state that:
(1) Persons in these vessels transporting a cooler, icebox, or any container for foodstuffs and beverages must make sure that the container is properly sealed or locked to prevent the contents from spilling into the water if the vessel was to overturn.
(2) Persons in these vessels must carry and affix to the vessel a container or bag of mesh construction suitable for containing their refuse, waste, and trash materials.
(3) They must also transport all their refuse, waste, and trash to a place where the materials may be safely and lawfully disposed of.
(4) At all times when a beverage is not in the sealed container, it must be attached to or held within a floating holder or other device designed to prevent the beverage from sinking beneath the surface of the waterway.
Lt. Taylor would also like to emphasis the importance of safety when it comes to recreation on Arkansas' waterways. The wearing of personnel flotation devices (life jackets) is a major concern, especially to children, 12 years of age and younger. The law mandates that children in this age group must wear their P.F.D's (with few exceptions) and officer Taylor states that there will be zero tolerance in enforcing this regulation. Persons over the age of 12 are not required to wear their life jacket, but must have one and are encouraged to wear it. Lt. Taylor states that there is a misconception about wearing life jackets on the Spring River by many people.
They often think that they do not need to wear one on a small river such as the Spring, with the attitude that it is shallow and can be crossed by foot iN several places. Although there is truth in this, it is far from the truth when they think that this river cannot be dangerous with its many falls and fast water that is associated with them.