Horseback riding, ATV’s prohibited at PA parks

Published 5:35 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Port Arthur City Council said whoa Tuesday to a measure that would have allowed horses to be ridden in city parks during special events.
Instead, the animals were outlawed altogether, along with ATV’s, as part of a new ordinance designed to protect not only the peace of families utilizing the facilities, but also recently made parks upgrades.
City Council was prepared to vote on a new ordinance that would have prohibited horses and ATV’s in parks, but would allow horse riders to obtain a waiver for special occasions.
Granting the waiver would have been at the discretion of the city manager and Port Arthur’s parks and recreation director.
Mayor Deloris “Bobbie” Prince led the effort to prohibit horses in the parks altogether.
“We don’t need to spend all this money in parks, then have horses roaming around,” Prince said. “If you have families in the park, and a horse gets spooked, you just don’t know what it will do.”
And, then there’s the problem of waste. Who’s going to clean that up, Port Arthur resident Beatrice Sanders, asked.
Sanders, 68, and her husband Gerald, 72, live in the Montrose area, near the recently refurbished Montrose Park.
Sanders said she has seen trail riders at the park when there were families there.
“The horses are always loose. I’m am not against horses, but I don’t our area to be Montrose Corral,” she said.
Sanders questioned if permission had been granted for a special event, who would monitor the number of horses there, and who would clean up afterwards.
People often are at the park barbecuing while horses are at the park. Not long ago there was a horse race at the park, Sanders said.
“Barbecue and horses all over the park just don’t mix,” she said.
Port Arthur has also had trouble with ATV’s at city parks. In many cases, they are rutting up the grounds.
Most of the affected parks are in outlying areas of the city such as Montrose, El Vista, or Port Acres, though Adams Park near Memorial High School is among those with horse and ATV riders.
The amended horseback riding ordinance provides that anyone in violation can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined an amount up to $2,000.
Those found guilty of the misdemeanor ATV offense could be fined up to $500.
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