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Popular ATV-riding site called a nuisance

WTOV

Authorities are calling a popular area for ATV riding a nuisance.

They say fatal accidents and stolen vehicles being set on fire are among a long list of emergency calls they receive.

It's called the Yellow Creek Trails. Roughly 1,000 acres of land off of Route 7 in Saline Township are a popular area for ATV riding. The problem is the activities taking place range from illegal to deadly.

“We've had a lot of vehicles brought in here that were stolen,” said Saline Township Patrolman Clifford Utt. “They take them into the trail areas and burn them.”

“ATV accidents, people life-lighted out. It becomes a hassle to us.”

Patrolman Utt says thousands come out over the course of holiday weekends as well as the rest of the summer.

“Everywhere, [people] from all over the United States come here to ride, usually on Memorial Day weekends, holiday weekends, all summer long,” Utt said.

However, the majority of the property is private.

“There are several of the land owners here that are upset at the people that come and trespass on their property, and it becomes a big issue,” Utt said.

With thousands of acres, it all can't be patrolled.

“There used to be a 4x8 sign that said no trespassing,” Utt said. “The property owner put it up. Within a day it was gone."

And with trails so narrow and so far out from the road, there is only so much the police can do.

“Depending on what resources we have, we're limited with what we can do here," Utt said.

When EMTs, fire and police have to take 15 minutes or more to navigate deep into the trails for an emergency call, it creates a hazard and delays them from answering other calls.

“Then we have to call for the sheriff's office or some other agency to go to another situation that we should be able to respond to and we're kind of tied up in here,” Utt said.

Utt encourages riders who have frequented the trails for years now to find a better place to do it.

“I would go to a legal riding area somewhere where riding is permitted,” Utt said. “There are a lot of them around, and stay off of people's property you shouldn't be on."

NEWS9 reached out to some of the landowners for comment, but we have not yet heard back.

But as Patrolman Utt said, several of them are very upset at some of the activities that have taken place.

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