By: CJ Cassidy
Mississippi County, MO -- Cooling off near the water sounds like it would be the perfect way to beat the summer heat, but the Mississippi County Sheriff says he's turning up the heat on some campers and ATV riders, who are not only putting themselves in jeopardy; they're trespassing on private land.
The property we're talking about is actually made up of sandbars that make an appearance as the river levels drop.
That's new land for ATV riders and campers to exlpore, and one new headache for police and property owners.
The Mississippi isn't as mighty as it usually is near the Dorena Ferry Crossing.
It's still a breath taking sight however, thanks to the hundreds of acres of sandbars that have popped up as water levels dropped.
"Landowners own ground and the people who come out here think it's part of the river so it doesn't belong to anybody. They think they can get out on it do what they want but it's the landowners and they're trespassing," Sheriff Keith Moore says.
Sheriff Moore says not only do people travel from all over Southeast Missouri to party on the sandbars, they also cross the river from Kentucky by ferry.
"Someone could get intoxicated and drown. The sand out here also still has water underneath, and we've got sinkholes out there that a fourwheelers could fall into," Moore points out.
"The liability side of it is awesome. We have to have insurance with our own policies and we don't want anyone hurt out on the sandbars," Charlie Johnson who owns more than one thousand acres of property along the Mississippi says.
He says it isn't just a need for privacy that had him post No Trespassing signs.
"They go right out through middle of the field, through corn fields and bean fields and they don't take into consideration we're trying to make a living," Johnson says.
But Johnson says he'll rest easier knowing Sheriff Moore doesn't plan on treading lightly with trespassers.
"We will issue tickets to anybody out here that isn't supposed to be here," Moore says.
Some land owners plan on posting more prominent signs warning thrill seekers to stay away.
Sheriff Moore also says high fuel costs are not going to keep his deputies from patrolling the area to catch law breakers in action.