Clay County Parks are a prized regional resource and a wonderful place to enjoy nature with friends and family. The men and women who serve as Park Rangers do a tremendous job not only keeping visitors and employees safe but serving as ambassadors to the thousands of guests who visit our parks every year. Sometimes, this involves polite and respectful education for our guests.
Recently, false accusations were made about the conduct of one of our Park Rangers, who was merely seeking to advise a mushroom hunter of existing restrictions. This false statement claimed that our Ranger threatened to issue citations and even arrest a private citizen for mushroom hunting. Our Ranger made no such threat, as you can see in this body camera footage.
The ordinance the Ranger noted, prohibited removal of any plants, deer antlers, etc., for any purpose, and was adopted in 1984. At the first Commission meeting following this encounter, County Commissioners reviewed the 1984 ordinance and voted unanimously to adopt a new ordinance that allows for the gathering of edible plants and fruits in Clay County Parks. Commercial harvest is still not allowed. The ordinance, 2019-ORD-13, is available on our website: Clay County Ordinance 2019-ORD-13.
Thank you to our Rangers for their tireless commitment to professionalism and our Clay County Parks. Thanks also to FOX4 News who alone aired the follow-up story and the body camera footage proving the original claim to be exaggerated and false. Why other media outlets chose not to correct their original stories is unknown. What is known, is that public servants who are asked to work all hours in all weather and are even called to put their lives on the line for us, deserve better.