Enforcement increased at Kern County off-road parks

Enforcement increased at Kern County off-road parks »Play Video
Thousands of off road enthusiasts have descended upon Kern County's off road parks this holiday weekend.

In response, authorities headed to the dirt to make sure people are playing by the rules. Eyewitness News went along with the special task force and shows us how they keep thrill seeker's safe while enjoying the dusty terrain.

The Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest times of the year in eastern Kern County at the off road vehicle parks, the Kern County Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management and the Kern County Sheriffs Department have teamed up to patrol the area all weekend long.

Every year the population of an otherwise abandoned desert rises into the thousands. There are several different parks to enjoy, and with so many people and so much land it's a big job to keep the area safe.

Kern County Sheriff's Sergeant T.J. O'Larry has been on duty at the park for the past day and a half, he says so far they've had more than 6 accidents, and expect half a dozen more.

O'Larry says the most common cause for accidents is reckless driving so, Sheriff's units are paroling the area on quad runners, four wheel drive trucks and they even an eye in the sky.

O'Larry tells Eyewitness News that they have an air unit to give air support, he says they sometimes find people have knocked down fences and gotten into restricted areas.

The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for almost 70,000 acres of wilderness allotted for off road use, the Kern County Fire Department steps in with the Sheriff's Department at busy times to assist the BLM as one big team.

While Eyewitness News was with the team at the Dove Springs Park, the task force got a call ... an injured female complaining of pain in Jawbone Canyon.

Kern County Fire Captain John King told us "We had a 16 year old female who was riding a motorcycle and crashed and fell on the ground and she had a right broken clavicle or collarbone."

Fire fighters and paramedics say the girl will be fine, and that her injury is the most common kind while riding bikes or ATVs.

But King says being careful can save lives. He advises to "Be very careful, know where they are at on the trail, it's just like being on a highway stay to the right, if everyone stays to the right they'll be safe, but you don't want to ride beyond your means because that's where people get in trouble."

The off-road task force says they'll do everything they can to keep people safe, but reminds riders to take extra precautions like wearing protective clothing, goggles, gloves and a helmet.