Understanding Use of Public Lands

The landscape in Southwest Florida is both beautiful and fragile. It is Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District’s (LA-MSID) responsibility to preserve and protect its    waterways and lands in Lehigh Acres and the western portion of Hendry County.

Lakes, rivers, canals, reservoirs and the lands that border these waterways play an important role in our water management system. They help to reduce flooding,        improve water quality and recharge aquifers and must be protected.

Unauthorized Areas: Use of ATV/Off-Road Vehicles, etc. on all canal right-of-ways, roadways, public lands unless otherwise stated, and unauthorized use on private lands is prohibited. Watercrafts with combustible motors are prohibited in LA-MSID canals and lakes. Public lands are areas owned by federal/state agency or any political subdivision of the state.

Violation of Florida Statutes will result in penalties. Penalties range from warnings and fines to confiscation of property, formal charges and jail time. For more information, review the Florida  Statutes or contact your local Sheriff’s office.

Enforceable laws include but are not limited to:

ATV Statute……………………………….316.2074

Trespass on Property…………………………810.09

Littering/Illegal Dumping………………….403.413

Damaging Works of the District…………….298.66

Damage to Public Lands…………………….375.14

Breaking or Injuring Fences …………………810.115

Posted Land, Removing Notices Unlawful……810.10

 ATVs

Where can I legally ride ATVs, etc.? On private property that you own or have permission to access or in designated parks. Consult www.myfwc.com for management areas that all ATV/Off-Road Vehicle use.

Why can’t I ride along canals, waterways or wetlands?  These areas play an important role to keeping our local area free from flooding, helps improve water quality and allows LA-MSID to recharge aquifers. Any disruption to these  areas could cause community wide issues.

What am I allowed to on LA-MSID property? Unless otherwise posted: individuals my fish in canals and lakes, walk in preserves, and boat in LA-MSID canals/lakes as long as the vessel used does not have a combustible motor.

I have always used ATVs, etc. on public land. Why is it an issue now? Riding has always been a illegal action that has been patrolled. There has been an increase in ATV, etc. activity which has lead to the increased enforcement effort

Boats

Are all boats prohibited in area lakes, canals, etc.?  Kayaks, canoes and other paddle-craft as well as all electric powered vessels are allowed in LA-MSID’s waterways unless otherwise posted. For rules and regulations on the use of state and federal waterways please refer to each agency directly.

Why are boats with combustible engines prohibited?  All vessels with combustible engines are prohibited in LA-MSID’s waterways because these engines can leak gas and oil which will pollute our waterways. In addition, the high speeds of these vessels can also cause erosion and damage both native vegetation and habitat.

Is fishing allowed in LA-MSID’s waterways? Unless otherwise posted, fishing is allowed in LA-MSID’s waterways, but you must hold the appropriate state licenses. Do not climb on or tamper with LA-MSID’s property– gates, structures, etc. Keep in mind motorized vehicles are not allowed on right-of-ways.

 Trash Disposal

Littering/Illegal Dumping is on the rise in Lehigh Acres.  Please visit Lee County’s web site for information on curbside services.

Lehigh Acres is currently served by Progressive Waste Solutions, 239-368-2300, if you have questions regarding what types of items they will pick up.

Household Chemical Waste

Residential Household Chemical Waste is accepted at the Lee County Solid Waste Division’s HCW drop-off facility located at 6441 Topaz Court in Fort Myers, off Metro Parkway. This facility is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and every first Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to noon (except holidays).

Household Chemical Waste (HCW) refers to those products used in and around the house — not used for industrial purposes. These are products that can be harmful to people and the environment if not disposed of properly. HCW cannot be placed in the household garbage for pick up by the garbage company.