Swimming at Higgins Ferry Park to continue

Published 11:22 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Those wanting to enjoy the waters of Lake Mitchell this summer will keep the option of swimming at Higgins Ferry Park, thanks to a decision by the Chilton County Commission.

In April, park ranger Frank Atkinson reported Alabama Power wanted to relocate the swimming area, currently located north of the boat launch, to the south side near the John Trobaugh Pavilion.

The commission was also presented with the option of eliminating swimming altogether, hearing statements that there were not enough swimmers to worry about and others who said those that swim in the area are a liability issue because of their proximity to boaters.

At their second meeting in April, the commission heard swimmers could remain if the county would offer increased enforcement of regulations, both in the water and in the parking areas.

During Monday’s meeting, the commission did just that, approving a resolution asking the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department to “provide for the public safety of the citizens using the Higgins Ferry Park for any recreational purpose.”

County attorney John Hollis Jackson said, in providing the resolution to the commission, said the signage and markers at the park are sufficient to further enforcement.

The department will enforce parking regulations allowing for clear access to boat launches and removal of boats from the water, without any interference.

The Alabama Marine Police will continue to enforce the maritime laws around the swimming area as they do with the rest of Lake Mitchell.