Annual ‘Easter Run’ on Bingham Mountain Canceled After Property Owners Complain

TRENTON, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s been an annual tradition along the Madison-Jackson County line for the past 15 years.   The ‘Easter Run’ involves trucks attempting to climb a rock face on top of Bingham Mountain.

“It’s grown into something that the land owners are tired of,” Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips told us.   “It’s all private property.  Once you leave the paved road it’s private property. “

Many people contacted WHNT News 19 to say they’re upset that the run won’t happen this year.  However, Sheriff Phillips says there’s nothing that can be done about it.

“Not every single landowner but the association with the majority of the landowners has contacted me here in Jackson County and also contacted the Madison County Sheriff’s office that they want these people to stop trespassing on their property because they are doing so much damage,” said Sheriff Phillips.

The sheriff says it’s not only property damage, but there have also been other problems associated with the run, including burglaries of hunting cabins.

“We’ve had one small child that was killed a few years ago.  We had a shooting.  Last year we had a bad wreck,” said Phillips.

Some of those who contacted WHNT News 19 claimed the property isn’t private property but belongs to the Tennessee Valley Authority.   We contacted TVA officials and they confirmed the land is private property.

“These people that have responded to us in a negative way do not understand that these property owners have rights,” Sheriff Phillips said.  “And if they say you can’t come on to their property then you’re violating the law and you are subject to trespassing arrest.”

Phillips says his office and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office are coordinating a plan to deal with anyone who decides to violate the “No Trespassing” signs that have been placed in the area by the landowners.

39 comments

  • Lecia Grider

    “Not every single landowner but the association with the majority of the landowners has contacted me here in Jackson County and also contacted the Madison County Sheriff’s office that they want these people to stop trespassing on their property because they are doing so much damage.’

    You have been misinformed about the above statement and it needs to be restated. My husband is a member of the association and he nor another member of the association was not contacted about this decision. Effective immediately my husband, Michael Grider, resigns from the association. He does not want to be any part of an association that uses his position without his consent.

    • Pete

      Lecia it said the “majority” of landowners. Once you ask 55 out of 100… that means the majority, your husband didnt HAVE to have an opinion for that statement to hold true.. The news story is correct.

    • Brian S.

      Wow, you resigned for him? Do you give him his opinions as well? As a member of the man club I officially revoke his “man card” until this issue can be resolved.

  • Sonja Thornberry

    This is so sad my brother works hard all year to get his truck ready for this he has not missed it in 15 years! He drives a big black chevy truck that says “High Life” across the front of it! Some people only know him as “High Life.”

  • Jacob Wright

    I made a few comments on the Jackson County Sheriff’s facebook on this issue, but I believe I should do it here also. This is a common occurrence in the off-roading world. Many of the people who have frequented this ride (includin myself) go for clean, honest, and harmless fun in the woods. However, there are some who mistreat the land by dumping trash, leaving the road and tearing up fields, and I have heard even breaking into cabins. I can completely understand the property owners’ wiahes to stop the traffic due to these issues.

    What the folks who use the roads need to understand is that the land under TVA’s transmission lines IS NOT owned by TVA. Electric companies receive an EASEMENT from property owners before building a line, which stays with the property typically unless the lines are removed.

    As said, for the past 15 years, this private property has been open for guests to enjoy every year. As a whole, I believe the off-road community has been ungracious and inconsiderate. Do I like that it’s come to this? No. Am I suprised? Absolutely not. Many people on that ride have treated the place as their personal keg party. A few have ruined it for the many once again.

    Moving forward, maybe the responsible off-roaders can approach the land owners to work out a deal for the future. Requiring a little more effort than loading up on ice & beer may deter the irresponsible riders from attending, and show the land owners this event can benefi them. This is a good opportunity to mend some fences, should people take the steps to do so.

  • drunk rednecks

    hell yeah i support the guy above!!! There gonna ruin easter weekend and abvously these cops are retarted cause they didn’t contact all the land owners

    • Pete

      Do you know what majority means… it does NOT mean EVERY landowner had to have a say inthe matter. If they went door to door to 50 houses, once they got an agreeable vote from 26 people… thats MAJORITY.

  • Jacob Wright

    This attitude is why the land owners don’t want the ride. Being proud of being “drunk rednecks” is the root of the problem.

  • Jeremy rich

    I personally know some of the land owners and they are tired of the rif raf no respect for the for the land owners that have so kindly opened their land to yes their are the honest folks that go just to have fun but it’s the nimrods that mess it up for everyone else it all boils down to lack of respect

  • David

    The solution seems apparent to me: the truck crowd should organize and have fundraisers. Then they could buy a property for such events and have it available year-round. Unless they don’t think they should have to pay for land and property taxes that a bunch of people they scarcely know can use and abuse.

  • KB

    It always take a few rotten apples to mess it up for everyone else. These are also the ones who would sue the land owner if they were injured or worse. Be happy the land owner let it go on for as long as they did! Would you want people littering, burglarizing and destroying YOUR property??

  • Russ

    Proud to say we own 88 acres on the coalmine side. We haven’t been contacted by the B&SLOA. The problem with the argument is the fact that a good bit of the mountain is a public road. There’s no way to cut that off. However, the powerlines are NOT owned by the TVA. The land has been owned by the motlow sisters for many years, who have an easement for the TVA powerlines. No one has permission to be on the powerlines, unless you have written permission from them. We we still be going to the cabin, not to ride but for a weekend retreat like we do every weekend. I can’t say I condone the trespassing that so many have done, but to some degree I think all parties involved have over stepped their bounds in se way. The no trespassing signs are only good for the land owners. Why haven’t people been sued? Because a lot of that road is public and it’s just like a car wreck. The easter run is too large to be truly stopped. There are too many willing land owners and too many ways in. There are trails, I can name 3 off the top of my head that have unlocked gates most of the time. There are also 4 trails that have no gate. I don’t think that this is look at in the right light, personally I’m trying to get some people who would be going to clean up, and maybe pay 10 dollars a person to go to the LOA and make it more reasonable. The Easter run is a great thing, whether it continues or not is up to the riders and LOA. What can be done? I’m not sure what all. A payment ahead of time, maybe more gates at the cabins, waivers in place and money per head would really help. These local riding groups really need to get together and worth this out.

  • Russ

    Maybe if we have some regulation to the alcohol like most parks, along with some money to pay a few regulators and start charging, there will be a lot less interest with payments.

  • Heather

    What half of you don’t even realize, because you haven’t been art of this tradition, is that they are logging this mountain. All the time. There’s one ride a year that hundreds of people go on….. And they get all the blame for the road issues. Some how the fact that trucks and equipment to do their logging going back and forth all the time is being missed.

    • Pete

      One ride one day HUNDREDS attend…. sounds like a lot of noise and damage to me. Kudos to the landowners for putting their foot down. Get over it Heather..

    • Anonymous

      The only difference is the loggers fix every bit of damage they do. It is in their best interest to do so. That’s where their living is made. I know firsthand as I’m an owner up there.

  • tanya

    I own land up there and we werent asked about this. I think the ride should continue and hopefully everyone will be respectful and stay on the road and pick up their trash.

  • robin

    I’m curious to see how many arrests are made, if any at all. Its impossible to keep the hundreds of people out of there. I hope they find a way to continue the ride without all the drama.

  • anonymous

    I know a lot of the people that go on the Easter Run. A few of them live in my neighborhood. There are trails behind my house that they ride. They have came off the trail on several occasions, tore up my garden, knocked down blueberry bushes, fruit trees, tore up my yard. And not once have they offered to repair the damages. Most of the time its at 2a.m., they are drunk, blaring music with no respect that most people in the neighborhood have to get up at 5am to go to work. But there are also those who respect the rest of us, and we don’t have any issues with those people. It is sad that a few “drunk rednecks”, mess it up for the respectful people who just want to enjoy trail riding.

      • anonymous

        I’m talking about the fields behind our neighborhood, on weeknights. it’s some of the same crew that’s messing it up for others on the easter run..

      • Candi

        Tara…I am a nurse I work holidays and weekends. So do a lot of people. …techs, housekeeping, dietary, nursing home staff, gas stations, etc….do you think that everyone gets holidays off?

  • Sam

    My family has viewed this event as enjoying the outdoors with others who enjoy the same thing. It is sad that there are people who have been disrespectful and destructive, not only to the property owners land and hunting cabins but also to nature itself. The few non-caring, destructive folks should be ashamed of themselves for ruining the event for the rest of us. I wish more people these days had respect for themselves and others. Sonja – you are right…..it shouldn’t be about partying or drinking!! In the past I’ve seen parents bring children up there while drinking….It always made me question their thought process and why they thought that was OK. I’m very upset this event has been cancelled due to inconsiderate vandals.

  • Branko Pezdi

    There is another far more serious issue rearing its ugly head in this area. Nextera Energy is attempting to bribe landowners on Bingham and Sharp Mountains to allow the company to build a windfarm on top of the ridge. The windmills would overlook Killingsworth Cove, which is in Madison County a mile or so southeast of Bingham Mountain. If enough landowners agree, the entire area will be destroyed forever. Al.com published a small article on this a month or two ago, otherwise the local media are remaining mum on the subject.

  • gg

    Meet with the Land Owner Association (LOA) and propose a plan. As an example – charge $30 per vehicle and divide proceeds the following way:

    $10 per car goes to paying for security.(off duty officers wanting to earn extra money).
    $15 per vehicle goes to LOA to cover any damages as a result of the activities.
    $5 per vehicle goes to a Charity of the LOA’s Choice.

    Give out wrist bands when fee is collected and Anyone caught without wearing wristband is arrested for trespassing or escorted off property.

    A fee will filter out some of the riff raff and by hiring security will help limit trouble that may arise.

    Just a thought.

  • tyler

    obviously pete just doesnt have a fourwheeler or 4wd youve said nothing but negative comments bud, look in my opinion .. people can still go theirs many land owners that are willing to take people.. thats the end of the story. will people go no.. theyll go to bull run hale mtn and everywere else because its a tradition to ride on that weekend. but on the opposing side. people should be respectful and carry garbage bags and put your trash in and maybe put a dumpster at the power lines and the bottom of the mountain dont close down the mountain just because some kids raised a little too much hell. if you close it for us i say you close it for the loggers as well.

  • S Mangus

    Let it be known and public: Unless you have a written and signed release from myself or my husband present at anytime, not just Easter weekend, and you are on our property, you WILL be charged with trespassing. Plain and simple. I do NOT care about tradition. Our property. We pay the taxes. We pay for upkeep. STAY OFF! You must have a key to get through the gate that leads to our property. Our gate is kept locked. Simple again, just because your ATV or off road vehicle can go around the said gate, DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE PERMISSION TO BE THERE! That includes those who walk around the woods to the property also. FYI we have cameras mounted. Add me to the dislike list. Your opinion of me does not change the fact that we do not want the problems caused by those who disrespect others. ( This statement may or may not reflect the opinion of my husband. One of us is usually nicer than the other. You can figure out for yourself which one of us that is )

  • dkiel

    My family has owned land there for years. All of the neighboring property owners that I have talked to (7 total) are completely against this organized trespassing because of the trash, theft and property damage.

    I hope that the Madison County Sheriff’s office is as proactive on this as Jackson county seems to be and the enforcement of the landowners rights continues for years to come. The North Alabama Easter Ride page was telling everyone to reroute through Killingworth cove to avoid law enforcement and offering places to park for $10 per vehicle with no regard for the wishes of the landowners or the law.

    They have since taken down the content and renamed the page to North Alabama Off Road Ride, no doubt due to the threat of liability and litigation. The “we are entitled” mentality displayed by these trespassers is disgusting.

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