Collier County to sue water managers over ATV riding site

— Collier County commissioners voted Tuesday to sue the South Florida Water Management District over its failure to find an ATV riding site.

Under a 2003 agreement, water managers pledged to find 640 acres for ATV riders in return for the county vacating 287 miles of roads in Southern Golden Gate Estates for an Everglades restoration project.

A plan to put an ATV park at the Lake Trafford dredge disposal site in Immokalee is caught up in concerns about arsenic and selenium contamination in the muck, and environmental permitting hurdles have stymied efforts to open an interim site in Hendry County.

Commissioner Jim Coletta said the county had no choice but to move forward with the lawsuit before the county’s legal rights under the agreement run out Oct. 1.

“We just don’t have a willing partner in this dance is how I see it,” Coletta said.

He said he hoped the lawsuit wouldn’t stop the water management district from trying to find an acceptable site.

The district has been working hard to resolve the ATV dispute, the district’s Everglades program manager John Dunnuck told commissioners.

He said the district has fulfilled part of a 2007 follow-up agreement by giving the county more than $500,000 for a boat ramp.

The district has received verbal approval from the Department of Interior to use 200 acres of a reservoir site in Hendry County as an interim site called for in the 2007 deal, Dunnuck said.

He said the district will not move forward with that plan without Collier County’s concurrence.

“We are disappointed with the county’s action and hope they would reconsider,” district spokesman Gabe Margasak said in a written statement released after Tuesday’s vote.

Before Tuesday’s vote, Dunnuck said he had hoped to be able to announce a deal to put a permanent ATV riding site in Hendry County.

The landowner, though, had not responded to the district’s offer, Dunnuck said.

He did not identify the landowner and it wasn’t clear whether the site would satisfy Collier County.

Collier County sportsmen’s advocate Brian McMahon called on commissioners to back up their repeated objections with legal action.

“It’s time we resolve it one way or the other,” he said.

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Comments » 35

lswjth2 writes:

Hopefully this will make the criminal and diabolical eveiarchy live up to it's contract. The evilarchy currently owns 300,000 acres of public land under their dominion and cant find 640 acres?
Their entire board needs to get kicked out an have an elected board that can be recalled.

sharkbait writes:

The County should have never turned the south blocks over without a agreed upon parcel, they were s----- to believe the State.

swfl_ff writes:

Again it is a shame that one government agency has to sue another government agency to get action on a commitment made years ago. Only the attorneys will make out in this deal.

But there may be no other choice at this point as it has become evident that the SFWMD has no intention to live up to it's commitment made to the county.

I hope that the commissioners have learned a hard lesson with all this. DO NOT trust SFWMD under any circumstances ever again.

swampbuggy writes:

Hopefully this will go on for years and stall all that federal stimulus money the district is counting on.

CoolridenJoe (Inactive) writes:

Why don’t the ATV riders all get together and buy their own plot of land to ride on?

swampbuggy writes:

I guess for the same reason that beachgoers don't get together and buy their own waterfront property.

Shaawe writes:

Go for it Collier County! The Tribe sued them several years ago and won and you can do it too. Do NOT let these connivers get away with this. They have broken their promises many times in the past and it needs to stop. I guess it's a governmental policy that goes back hundereds of years. "White man speaks with forked tongue"!

OCHOPEE writes:

Not only should they not ever trust SFWMD agian,
they should also not trust the National Park
Service either, they are nothing but a bunch
of thiefs and liars also.

Colliercounty0101 writes:

Nice one

boone1 writes:

This is an example of an abuse of government power. The government can not be trusted.

We should all get together and take the land back!

RXT writes:

Thank God.

Nice to see some good action from our County folks for once.

The voters have spoken and they finally listed.

I agree with the folks above though. Only the legal eagles make out in this deal. In the end, let's hope the ATV folks get their acreage.

swamp4ever writes:

Where has all the ATV titling fees been going thats been collected in SWFL? To alot of waste elsewhere in the state.

Bramble writes:

If CC loses, then it's the end of the effort. That would be the upside of this.

ATV riding on public land is not a public right or a necessity.

Shaawe writes:

YeOld "e" Napoli, when will YOU get it? Since when has anyone been riding ATV's in OLD Naples? As far as it being an "quaint" village, that is a thing of the past thanks to the developers, oportunists and land rapists. It is more like Miami anymore. Something more imbarassing is all the empty buildings and businesses going under. You really need to focus what is going on in your own backyard, not in the swamps.

Doctorate writes:

What a lame deal the County negotiated for the roads in the South Blocks:a SFWMD promise of a section of land for ATVs? I agree with you Bramble, a loss is a win on this suit.

travelbug writes:

SFWMD never should have agreed to supply property to pay back a bunch of trespassers. People used the south blocks illegally for years, damaging other people's land.
Government has no business supplying ATV parks to law breakers. You got away with it for years. It was never your right and as a tax payer to SFWMD, I resent my money being spent this way.

collierwhistleblower writes:

YeOldeNapoli - You need to get it there OLD NUMBY according to the NDN in articles published many years ago (and still supported) it takes upwards of 9 of those good ole boys and girls to support you lifestyle and habits..that means doctors nurses paramedics firefighters watresses waitors bagboys cashiers and the list goes on. Unless YOU are prepared to pay for all of the amenities that they are used to doing or receiving for THEIR TAX DOLLARS for their recreation, I suggest you get a grip on life and keep your nose in ye ole napoli....I would pay to see any of you happy tails serve me at a restaurant or hand me a towel at my exclusive beach club..end of story..

Colliercounty0101 writes:

oh so now...ATV riding is associated with crime and trailer trash rednecks??? I am so sick of you golf course land bleeding, uneducated snobs that do not get it... "I" pay for your golf course taxes everyday and "I" don't even play golf!!! Again, to reiterate what someone else mentioned. We ATV riders are "required" to tag our OHV's which means we pay a "fee" to ride in our taxable county. How would you feel if you titled your car and pay taxes every year to have someone tell you to keep that car off the roads and in your garage????

dakotafan42862 writes:

You know alot of you people annoy me when you speak of what wrong things the ATV riders do while you play 18 holes of golf on the chemically treated grass and free of mosquitoes thanks to insecticides that contaminate the Everglades. And u wonder what causes red tide. What makes you better?

BigMunch writes:

What kills me is they take our riding area in Collier county away from us and then propose a new riding area in another county on some guys land that they don't even own or have access to, this SWFWMD is the worst of the worst.
Just let us return to ride in the old area. Pull the cop patrols (waste of many man hours) and let us ride again in the deserted area south of I-75 which is still there. Easiest solution.

ravenhawk writes:

Anyone ride ATV's in East Bonita? Every week end there are lots of them in that area. SFWMD ( WMD ) owns much of that land now through emminent domain process and willing owners selling out so why not use that land for ATV use? I have been going in this area since I was a kid, owned property there a while back and there is no reason it cannot be used for recreational use ( providing it is not abused ) including ATVs, swamp buggys, 4x4s, horses and just plain old hiking and camping. What else does WMD have in mind for this land except to keep it away from the public? Their original plan ( another lie ) was to prevent flooding of east Bonita Springs by getting rid of all the people living there. They did force a lot of people to move and removed their homes but did that alleviate the flooding problems? Not in the least! Tropical storm Fay proved that very nicely. Get with it WMD. Live up to your part of the bargain!!

ravenhawk writes:

Post#13 by YeOldeNapoli. You are absolutely correct that "Olde Naples will never be perceived as a quaint village with European flair". Those days are over my friend. Y'all gave it a good try but it just ain't gonna work. Sorry Olde Boy, but Naples has a rich history in swamp buggys, rednecks, fishermen, farmers and downright normal people, much unlike yourself. Here's the new world for your Olde Naples. Get yer reading glasses on, yer gonna love this one! Naples will be getting more and more people in from Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica and South America and less and less of the old crowd that was born and raised her so get used to it Olde Boy. Welcome to the New Naples!
Everyone else gets it; when will you?

semper2 writes:

Awesome...The county finally got off the pot. Now we can look forward to years of litigation as this goes through the courts. I love how SFWMD thinks that taking land and Collier County and replacing it with land in Hendry County is going to be acceptable. I love how SFWMD thinks that taking land and then replacing it with arsenic polluted land is going to be acceptable.
Yeoldecrapoli....Naples European charm is working so well that they are bringing in a guy from Miami to rebuild and help redevelop Old Naples. Beacause we all know that Miami has TONS of old world European charm. This guy came to Naples before and redeveloped downtown and then Naples City Council Voted to get rid of everything that was bringing people in.
You stay in Olde Naples And I will stay in the woods...( well at least I will be in the woods in aboout 4 years. After this suit is done)

BlueTonguedVole (Inactive) writes:

SFWMD=taxation without representation.

YeOldeNapoli=SixWhiteHorses/YeOldeNaples/BuffaloBill and more aliases than that.

While I am not a rider, I fully support those who have fun with ATVs. The County and SFWMD both not lived up to their promises: Finally the County is moving forward. Disparaging someone for their recreational choices when these choices are perfectly legal is typical of elitists. I suspect most who fall into this category do not posses a sense of humor.

Stay in Olde Naples Napoli and drink your chianti, eat your beans...I think you must be full of beans by now! LOL

nativeofnaples32 writes:

I have lived here my whole life and use to ride out in the "blocks" ,good times. But it was here in Naples, yes in Naples, so what I want to know is why in the heck can't we have a spot to ride here in Naples? Why are they trying to move us to Hendry County, they took our riding spot from Naples not Hendry County!

BlueTonguedVole (Inactive) writes:

Oh forgot that YeOldeNapoli=lemon (banished like his many other user names...)

lemon likes to add his twist to many conversations to pull on our "chain" to bait us. I would call him a master baiter, perhaps the PC way of phrasing this is master of baiting (aren't puns fun?).

Now Y.O.N., lemon, etc., you know I appreciate you...right?

SFWMD is an agency which needs to be held accountable to the voters. Let's push for elected positions versus appointed ones. Their make-up reminds me of the Czars in Washington.


swamp4ever writes:


There have been back door meetings regarding limited recreation in the area you speak of, however #1 the irresponsible ATV'rs have abused and trashed the place. The true southern conservationist that has participated in traditional recreation for generations gets caught up in the mess created by every carpetbagger and illegal alien that buys an ATV and trash wherever they ride. Is lack of management a good excuse for no access? No, but the govt seems to do a good job of it. #2 Ray Judah has dictated to everyone that it will never happen. Why he single handedly has that power, I don't know.

When it comes to recreation, the SFWMD seems to have no problems with access to their lands for the folks on the east coast, but absolutely nothing for the west coast. In one particular meeting they authorized $700,000 for a bridge to keep track-buggy access to a water treatment area. The airboats and track-buggies have full reign over all SFWMD WCA's and WTA's, but we have nothing on the west coast. The poor folks in east bonita had their homes condemned by SFWMD for the sake of "environmental restoration", however they gladly hand out 20 year leases on illegal camps built in cypress heads in the everglades. Where is the justice in that? I don't have a problem with hunting camps in the 'glades, 100 of them couldn't affect the environment in 50 years what a golf course does in 1 year, but don't be a hypocrite and take someone's home for the sake of restoration. Its all about political clout, and the SFWMD bends over for those on the east coast, and sticks it to the west coast.

"The answer lies with the director of land stewardship for the South Florida Water Management District, Fred Davis. "Since the mid-Forties people with airboats have gone out there and built camps without permits, without knowing whose land they were on," says Davis. "Over the years the State tried to find out a way to regulate them but nothing ever worked.

"There are about 80 camps out there with no addresses. About 40 percent are owned by the district, 40 percent by the state, and 20 percent by private parties." According to Davis, a 1999 law states any hunting camps the district owns can be leased out for twenty-year periods."

Neal writes:

So I'm a thunkin' way back when "Olde Naples" was ever anythin' but "Bubba". 'Ceptin' o' course Port Royal where, back then, a ten million dollar house was really sumptin' ta see and 'bout the best place ta eat was St. George and the Dragon. Named for the owner and his wife. Nice people by the way. Always had time to see to it a kid working there with his father to fix some kitchen equipment was well fed by one of the bestest chefs in the world. Yup I remember ol' Oscar well I do. Ruled his kitchen with an Iron Fist he did. No one bearded Oscar in his domain. Not George. Not the Dragon.

Musta missed the meetin' where we all decided that Naples had to become "Olde Naples".

So I guess by rights iffen you wuz to make Naples into "Olde Naples" you would need to take out mosta the high falutin' places and bring back more of the "Bubba" places. Cause that's what Naples wuz. In the "Olde" days.

mothernature writes:

Is there anyone the commissioners AREN'T suing? They are still entangled with Dwight Brock and appealing that ruling costing the taxpayers more and more money. Haven't they spent in excess of two million on that case alone? How much will they spend on this one?

swfl_ff writes:

LOL torah. It would not surprise me.

YeOldeLemon the "old" in old Naples has absolutely nothing to do with Europe. It picked up that name years ago simply because it is the oldest part of town. Nothing more, nothing less. Some one decided to add the e on the end of old in hopes that it might make it look classier. It didn't work.

Time to get over your "European Elan" self and get a grip on reality. If it were not for all those good old bubbas your life would be a whole lot harder. They are they ones who do the work around here and keep things moving for people like you.

Isn't it time to go for your beans and Chianti?

maverick1 writes:

next golf course that forecloses would be a great atv field. sand traps elevated greens. just let the county jump on a foreclosed course and we are good to go

swampbuggy writes:

Nice photo dog. YeOlde'57Plymouth?

itsawonderfullife writes:

Good one swamp! Very good! Well said!

itsawonderfullife writes:

Beach renourishment, by OUR tax dollars as well, would have it's inland roots as well now wouldn't? Beachgoers getting together for waterfront property---I LOVE it! Well said! Still laughing!

Donkey writes:

Good point Maverick........I suggest they look into buying Twin Eagles, lots of room, neat berms, few people around to annoy, close to the Estates, already perimiter bermed for noise control....

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