The Buzz

Ole man Arkansas River, now dry as a bone

Updated: 2013-04-29T18:46:09Z

By DAVE HELLING

Kansas wildlife officials have a warning — be careful when you play in the river.

In a news release Monday, the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism noted the prolonged drought has dried up much of the Arkansas River bed, one of three rivers in the public domain in the state.

Apparently, Kansans are taking advantage of the parting of the sea, plowing through the sandy riverbed in ATVs, pickups, and other vehicles. Others have set up camps and picnics along the now-dry river bank.

The state reminds Kansans that while the river bed is open, access to it may not be. Homes, businesses, and farms own the shoreline down to the ordinary high water marks on each bank — “the line where high water has left debris, sand, and gravel during its ordinary annual cycle,” the release says.

If you can get to the riverbed, you need to be careful.

“People using the Arkansas River are subject to the same laws and regulations as on land, so operating a vehicle while intoxicated, reckless driving, disorderly conduct and other violations are prohibited,” the department says.

“Also, destruction of certain wildlife habitat can be a violation, such as destroying beaver dams and lodges.

“And, given the increased activity, consideration and respect for others will be necessary for everyone to enjoy the experience. Personal safety is also important, and proper protective gear should be worn at all times.”

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