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ATV routes would be best

outside peak of summer

The newly formed Three Lakes Nicolet ATV Club recently proposed an all-terrain vehicle route system, a plan that utilizes town roads to connect local business owners and the community with systems in Forest County.


A major attribute of the plan is that ATVs would share low-speed town roads with other motor vehicles as opposed to high-speed highways — which have been the target for route development in other North Woods towns.


These town roads are curvy and somewhat hilly, which means average traffic speeds are in line with the proposed ATV? speed limit of between 10 and 25 mph. That is a much better plan than putting ATVs on highways where motorized traffic is moving at 55 mph and beyond.


The use of paved town roads means that there won’t be maintenance and damage issues that are often associated with running all-terrain vehicles on gravel and dirt roads. Paved roads also mean less dust.


However, the club recently switched its plan from select routes to making every town road an ATV?route. The vision goes beyond connecting with Forest County, opening every corner of the town road system to ATV?use. It’s a plan we don’t support. We believe the town board should help the business community without making a wholesale change to traffic patterns and roadway use in Three Lakes.


On the initial subject of a designated east-west corridor to Forest County, the best route the club proposed utilizes North Big Lake Loop, Col. Himes, Chicken in the Woods and Rupple roads to access the national forest system. We suggest that is the single best option, assuming that the club can find a way to cross Crystal Creek near Highway 45 south.


The downtown connection route that appears most feasible to us hasn’t even been proposed. We would suggest one ATV?corridor that goes south of town on Winkler, Lake Terrace and Crystal Lake roads, then running a short distance on the Highway 45 right-of-way to a new bridge across Crystal Creek, connecting to North Big Lake Loop.


While the club faces many challenges in trying to get these routes established, their efforts would be far easier if they would simply exclude July and August from the equation. Just eliminate the peak of summer, when the largest number of people would be adversely affected and when local businesses don’t need  as much of a boost.


Proponents of ATV routes and trails often say their recreation could provide the same economic boost that winter snowmobiling provided. While that may be true, the two don’t constitute an apples to apples comparison. Snowmobiles run on frozen ground during a time of the year when few people are here.


If the club would concentrate on helping the fringe seasons, especially May, June, September, October and November, they would face less opposition and do more good for the economy. Why turn off vacationers and seasonal residents in July and August? Why risk losing existing summer business?


With some additional planning and compromising, Three Lakes could achieve ATV?route access with a lot less controversy.

Behind the editorial ‘we’


Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013 5:30 PM

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