MWCD approves policy for use of golf carts

March 26, 2009

A policy and guidelines for the legal use of golf carts on Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) property will take effect in 2010.

After the recent approval of the policy by the MWCD Board of Directors, MWCD officials said they will use the time over the next year to inform guests in MWCD campgrounds and leased property locations about the policy and to answer questions.

"This is a policy that has had quite a bit of work put into it by a number of interested people," said Mark Jukich, MWCD manager of operations. "This policy was developed over a period of about 22 months by a task force comprised of campers, cottage site lessees, youth camp managers, adjacent private property owners and MWCD staff members."

Jukich said that golf carts have been used by guests for many years on MWCD property, but conservancy district officials recognized that they were not being legally operated and many users have requested a policy to allow their proper use.

The MWCD golf cart policy recognizes the carts as motor vehicles, making them subject to licensing and requirements through the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Licensed golf carts can be operated on the public roadways on MWCD property and even can be operated on off-road areas of MWCD lands through a special-use permit. Owners of carts who seek permission to operate them on MWCD properties will be required to have their cart inspected by an MWCD ranger prior to obtaining license plates and insurance.

Brad Shick, a camper at Atwood Lake Park and a member of the task force that developed the golf cart policy, encouraged members of the MWCD Board of Directors to approve the policy during a recent meeting. He said that golf cart task force members did not realize the complexity of the situation as it exists in state law, and said that the policy provides a basic approach to deal with the growing popularity of the golf carts.

The MWCD is a political subdivision of the State of Ohio and manages more than 54,000 acres of property and water in an 18-county region of eastern Ohio. Most of the MWCD's holdings are open for public access and recreational facilities - including campgrounds, youth and special camps and leased landholdings - have been developed.

In another matter, applications for grant funding will be prepared by the MWCD for nearly $400,000 worth of improvements at public boat launch ramps located at Atwood and Seneca lakes.

Board members approved filing the applications for upgrades proposed for the launch ramp at Atwood Lake located at the Atwood East Marina near Dellroy in Carroll County and at the public boat launch ramp at Seneca Lake located off Rt. 313 near the dam in Guernsey County. The MWCD will seek the grant funding from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Watercraft Public Boating Facilities Grant Program.

The improvements at the Atwood boat launch ramp include the replacement of one launch lane and the addition of a courtesy dock at a total estimate cost of $35,000. At Seneca Lake, upgrades proposed include addition of a third boat launch lane to the present two-lane ramp, construction of a new parking area, addition of a new restroom, parking lot lighting and a second courtesy dock cluster. The total estimated cost of the work is $350,000.

If approved for funding, work on both projects would be scheduled for 2010.

In other business, the Board:

• Approved implementation of a 40-year cottage site lease on a case-by-case basis to accommodate current banking regulations. The MWCD manages about 1,200 parcels of properties at eight of its reservoirs where land is leased to private owners for residential home sites. The lessees own the structures and lease the property where they are located from the MWCD. The MWCD previously has offered 14-year, 15-year and 30-year leases.

• Approved a request to hold a water ski tournament Aug. 14 and 15 on Charles Mill Lake, marking the third consecutive year that a International Novice Tour League event is planned at the lake.

• Approved advertising for bids for the purchase of a 2009 Honda Element vehicle at a cost not to exceed $23,000. The Board also was informed that a 2009 Jeep Liberty has been purchased for the Chippewa Subdistrict of the MWCD from Furey Chrysler Jeep of Malvern at a cost of $21,111.90. The purchase is paid for through funds solely from the Chippewa Subdistrict budget. The Chippewa Subdistrict is a flood-reduction and channel improvement program located in southern Medina and northern Wayne counties with the MWCD serving as the business agent for the subdistrict.

• Held an executive session to discuss personnel. No action was taken.

Darrin Lautenschleger
Public Information Administrator
Toll-free: (877) 363-8500


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