Louisville, KY --
Effective immediately the Fisherman’s Access Trail (located along the western bank of Shippingport Island within the Falls of The Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area in Louisville, Kentucky) will reopen, however it will temporarily be operated under restricted Special Use. In the interest of public safety, the Fisherman’s Access Trail will be utilized strictly for Special Use with the issuance of a Special Activity Permit. Permitted activities will be primarily limited to educational programs and scientific research.
This decision has been made after careful consideration for both the safety of the public and staff employees, as well as the overall environmental health of the National Wildlife Conservation Area. While the Fisherman’s Access Trail does have legitimate users, the area has a long history of misuse. There have been a series of Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations infractions on the property that included destruction of government property, offroad vehicle use, littering, unauthorized fires and camping. Additionally, drug use, prostitution and illegal discharge of firearms have also been reported. Lack of personnel and law enforcement contracts do not allow the area to be regularly monitored to ensure illegal activities do not occur.
The Louisville Fire and Rescue Boat ramp located within the area was constructed in 2016 to provider quicker emergency response times to incidents in the lower Cannelton pool, and will remain accessible to first responders.
We understand this is not welcome news to many in the community who have enjoyed fishing on Shippingport Island over the years, but at this time it is a necessary step to ensure the safety of the public, our U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff, and the protection of the National Wildlife Conservation Area until additional safety measures can be implemented.
We are still in the process of evaluating the current use and authorizations for the area to ensure it is safe for both our staff and the public. Any updates will be shared on the Louisville District webpage at www.lrl.usace.army.mil.
Release no. 23-001