SAREPTA — A steady stream of RVs and trucks trailering ATVs has been rolling into Webster Parish as Muddy Bottoms ATV Park in north Webster Parish officially opens for Memorial Day weekend.
"Our traffic flow has worked out real well up to this point," Webster Sheriff Gary Sexton said Thursday afternoon. "It's been a steady ingress coming in. I really tip my hat to Muddy Bottoms personnel and how they've arranged the intake."
Park manager Jeff Drost said as many as 15,000 ATV enthusiasts are expected to visit the 5,000 acre park this weekend for "Mudapalooza".
North Webster officials have been preparing for the influx of traffic and visitors for months — though they're not exactly sure for what they're prepping.
"We're going to have to experience one so we know what to expect," Springhill Mayor Carroll Breaux said. "I guess we're ready - or I guess we'll find out. This is so different from anything we've experienced. We're not used to this big of a volume."
Muddy Bottoms had an invitation-only soft opening last month, and the small communities surrounding did see a slight increase in business.
"The preview was really good," Breaux said. "We definitely saw an increase in traffic as people came in. Some restaurants said they had more customers."
The increase in traffic, as well as the holiday weekend, prompted Sexton to bring on additional deputies.
"We're going to have some extra units on duty this weekend — not for Muddy Bottoms, but for the parish to make sure it's covered for the holiday," Sexton said.
Still, Muddy Bottoms has been added to on-duty north end patrols. Sexton said deputies will make rounds as they would any other neighborhood and will address any issues if requested.
As far as park security, off duty deputies and law enforcement officers from other nearby jurisdictions will be working.
"We keep them close to their (patrol) units," Sexton said of those working off duty within in the park. "We know that if we have a major (incident) in the parish, they are priority to us."
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