The West Baton Rouge Parish Council adopted rules for The West Baton Rouge Heritage Trailway on Thursday, Feb. 22.
Despite an ongoing power struggle between parish leaders and landowners, construction is complete, Parish President Riley “PeeWee” Berthelot said.
Four rules, adopted as an ordinance, govern who, when and how the trail may be used. Everyone is welcome to use the trail until it closes at twilight. If the parish decides to install lights on the trail in the future, the hours will then be extended.
While the trail is available for all humans, dogs will be the only pets allowed on it. All dogs must be on a leash at all times.
The trail is also just for walking, running and riding bicycles– not motorized vehicles. In accordance with state law, the use of motorized vehicles such as mini-bikes, ATVs, and golf-carts are strictly prohibited on the levee trail. The Brusly Police Department issued four summons related to ATV use on the levee trail in the past week, Brusly Police Chief Jonathan LeFeaux said. For more information on the state law regarding bicycle paths and walkways on levees click here.
LeFeaux said he has given his personal cell phone number to residents to report motorized vehicle use on the levee as not
to bog down the emergency line and have deputies respond more promptly.
In Brusly, violators are issued a summons and required to pay a $50 fine. Mayor Scot Rhodes and town council members said at a committee meeting on Monday, March 5 they would like to see the fine increase, but made no explicit plans. They also expressed plans to introduce the same ordinance as the parish, as to be consistent with rules and enforcement throughout the parish.
Lastly, the trail is for use at your own risk.
In a previous interview, Berthelot said landowners had two main concerns: liability and government encroachment on their land. The final rule for the use of the levee trail takes care of the first concern. The second concern is being handled through litigation with landowners.
The complainant, West Baton Rouge Parish, hopes to settle with defendants Joseph Tullier, Rae Tullier, Barton Tullier and Phillip Debenedetto, who reside on three properties.
The parish has cleared multiple legal hurdles in its effort to complete the WBR Heritage Trail. The most recent of which was getting state-mandated authority from the Atchafalaya Basin Levee District to continue construction of the 5-mile levee top recreational trail and bike path after landowners blocked construction crews.