JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va., Sept. 14, 2018 —
Just as there are laws on the road and police officers in squad cars to enforce them, there are game wardens to enforce the laws out on the water.
At Fort Eustis, that person is the game warden, who is in charge of enforcing all fish and game laws, as well as boating laws and any other laws that fall under Title 16 of the United States Code.
“Fort Eustis has over 26 miles of shoreline,” said Christopher Griffin, 733rd Security Forces Squadron game warden. “The boundaries of Fort Eustis include the Warwick River, James River and Skiffs Creek. Along with those you have a multitude of different creeks, streams and estuaries that enter into here.”
Fort Eustis is home to over 235 known historical sites, and its one of Griffin’s many duties to protect those areas by ensuring trespassers do not disturb them.
According to Griffin, the patrols are not just to keep people out of restricted areas, but also to promote public safety.
“When this post was established, the further reaches off the post were bombing ranges,” Griffin said. “[Fort Eustis] had targets that [aircraft] would fly over and drop bombs on to.”
According to Griffin, objects may still be buried within the woods or the waterways. Fort Eustis also has active firing ranges and training areas near the shores and within the woods, making potential hazards for people near waterways.
“Several of those training areas have soldiers conducting training,” Griffin said. “If someone comes in by boat and [illegally] hunts off [Fort Eustis’s] shorelines, the rounds can travel and cause serious injury or fatality.”
Along with keeping the post populous and public safe, Griffin wants to ensure individuals, whether boating near Fort Eustis or not, are conducting proper boating safety in conjunction with local and state laws.
According to Griffin, a final rule to keep in mind is to watch out for other boaters, especially large commercial or naval vessels. Boaters must maintain a 500 foot clearance from all naval vessels.
Whether ensuring safety or watching out for trespassers, it’s the game wardens duty to protect the shores and waterways of Fort Eustis.