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Frank M. Hume Jr.

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  1. Frank M. Hume Jr.

    Current River Concerns

    Governor, Senator, Representative, Directors, Departments, Fly Shops and organizations I am writing to ensure that you have been advised of destruction being created by the increasing presence of equestrian activity and ATV use within the upper Current River region which is a part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverway which is managed by the National Park Service. Current Ozark National Scenic Riverway (ONSR) regulations prohibit horseback riding within the Riverway except for four established trails located approximately 47 river miles downstream from Montauk State Park and prohibit ATV use off of established roads including trails and gravel bars. Horseback trail riding has migrated steadily upstream and into the ONSR from the Eminence region and ATV use continues to increase almost certainly emanating from an off-road park for 4 wheel drive vehicles located near the Cedar Grove river access. The Dept. of Interior/National Scenic Riverways/National Park Service, has clearly failed to police these practices by enforcing the regulations and as a result, there is major stream bank erosion due to unlawful horse and ATV trails and ecoli bacterial pollution. The sediment from stream bank erosion suffocates the eggs of both fish and the macroinvertebrates upon which they depend for food. These practices degrade stream bank stabilization widening and changing river hydraulics and stream depths. The Current River from Montauk State Park (mile 0) downstream to Cedar Grove access (mile 9.0) is promoted as a "Blue Ribbon" trout fishery and it has suffered greatly as a result of the illegal equestrian and ATV uses previously mentioned. I have voiced my concerns regarding these clear violations for the regulations of the Ozark National Scenic Riverway to the Central Div. Offices of The Dept. of Interior in Omaha Nebraska, only to receive no response. Although the ONSR is controlled by the Federal government, I do know that if any of these blatant violations were to be present in state-owned public areas in any other state the consequences would be quite severe. As an example of appropriate regulatory enforcement at the state level, I recently fished the Catch and Release area on the White River in Arkansas and was checked for both appropriate licensing and to make sure that I was using a barbless hook as required. To correct this enforcement failure on the part of the National Park Service, it is my opinion that this section of the ONSR from Montauk State Park to Cedar Grove access should be reverted to, and regulations enforced by, the Missouri Department of Conservation which would result in this once world-class fishery being much better served. If that is not possible I recommend that a coalition of state, federal and concerned citizens, much like the "Friends of White River" be formed for the betterment of this area. The Missouri Department of Conservation is fortunate to have phenomenal employees in Dave Ingram, Jason Migget, John Ackerson, Tom Whelan and others who provide tireless support of the ONSR to the extent that they can, but who must feel that their hands are somewhat tied with the National Park Service, which is supposedly the primary overseer of the ONSR, failing to provide enforcement of the equestrian and ATV regulations. Thank you for your attention to this email and to this most valuable resource. Sincerely, Frank Hume, Dent Co. resident, Syndicate Fly Rod Rep. and avid flyfisherman
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