St. Tammany Parish Government officials released a stern warning on Wednesday to anyone who attempts to fish from the damaged St. Tammany Fishing Pier located on E. Howze Beach Road just south of Slidell.

The release stated that because the pier is closed to the public, anyone on-site will be considered a trespasser and will be dealt with by law enforcement officials. The pier was heavily damaged during Hurricane Isaac last August and is not expected to reopen to the public until 2014.

The reminder comes just before the busy Fourth of July holiday, and the extended weekend that is expected to draw tens of thousands of people to local waterways.

Parish Government Spokesman Ronnie Simpson said there have been reports of people fishing from the pier, which is a dangerous situation. Simpson wasn't sure how many reports have been received of trespassers using the pier, but that one person is too many.

"We don't want anyone to get hurt," he said on Wednesday afternoon. "There is debris everywhere over there still and big rocks below the pier, as well as over the waterline. The wooden structure of the pier was completely mangled. It's a twisted mess and it's just not a smart thing to do."

Simpson said even though the area is clearly marked as being closed (and there are two temporary fences blocking passage to the pier,) people have ignored the warnings. They do so at their own peril and are breaking the law, he said.

"There are other places to go fish in St. Tammany Parish that are much safer," Simpson said.

One such alternative is the recently-reopened fishing pier just east of the Causeway in Mandeville. That bridge also saw a long closure after being battered during Isaac.

The St. Tammany Fishing Pier south of Slidell was an immediate hit when it opened in May 2012. It was shut down, however, after only about three months of action when Isaac stormed ashore. Simpson said in just its first week, the Slidell-area pier attracted 2,300 visitors. There were many more who visited last summer before the hurricane damaged the structure.

"It's a crime that it was only open for such a short time," he said. "But it's a crime now ... to use it while it's closed to the public. With the new artificial reef that was placed out there (earlier this year by the Coastal Conservation Association,) it's going to be an even better place to fish. We just have to be patient … and safe."