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Vilas should allow ATVs PDF Print E-mail

Letter to Editor:

According to a recent Department of Natural Resources publication, there are more than 330,000 all-terrain vehicles (ATV)/utility-task vehicles (UTV) registered in our wonderful state. Hmmm, sounds close to snowmobile registrations or even greater. Isn’t it time for Vilas County to realize this is an outdoor sport and it deserves to be allowed in our county?

Areas like Three Lakes and Sugar Camp have started with ATV routes and have had much success. Why can’t we? Our family is sick of having to trailer our machines out of the county for a day or weekend of fun. Gas, food, lodging all outside of Vilas. Families ride ATVs and UTVs, the average rider is between 40-50 years old.

Let’s bring the “ugly” in. Last year’s ATV season running from mid-April to mid-November saw 22 fatalities; nine were alcohol related. Our snowmobile season was phenomenal this year with the long winter we had. But there were still 23 fatalities. Thankfully, none were in Vilas. But the alcohol statistics tied to the fatalities are staggering. Sixteen of the 23 were alcohol related. Of those, five were above 0.200%.

We have all these wonderful snowmobile trails. Is it really that bad to have ATV trails in our county? We would be bringing in tourism dollars and there would be clubs to maintain trails. Think about it Vilas County and stop voting it down every time it comes up.

And I think Wisconsin should pass a law to hold it against the offender’s drivers license if they’re caught drinking and driving in either sport.

Gina Ewert

Eagle River

Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:45 AM


-4 #7 2014-05-12 09:33

The point being, is that we have enough traffic on our road. It is a 35 mph road, and the ATV's are supposed to heed that. However just this weekend alone a number of them flew right by. While my house is far off of the road and I cannot see them due to trees, I heard them and saw plenty when I was on the tractor. What will happen when local ATV riders aren't the only ones on the roads?

Start with a trail system first, and THEN use small sections of roads.

I am all for equal rights and I believe the government should stay out of our lives. In my opinion, if I pay the DNR to register our two ATV's, I should be able to use them wherever. But, I ALWAYS respect others and will not put myself or my family into dangerous situations. The vast majority it seems do not respect others though. Therein lies the problem with using roads as routes.
+2 #6 2014-05-12 09:25

And I will give you a few examples...

I use the road to move farm equipment. Just this weekend while plowing, someone almost creamed me with a car. They flew around the corner and there I was. A car vs 20,000 lbs of farm equipment? The car would have lost had they not swerved at the last second.

Last year I took our 5 children for a walk. Had I not been delayed at the house for a minute, myself, and my children would likely have been killed by this moron driving 70 mph. Another 20 feet further we would have been gone.

My wife rides her horse on our property and our neighbors' property. Sometimes she uses the road, but tries to stray away from that. More often than not, an idiot will fly by her while she is on the horse not giving the horse much room. Thankfully my wife is an excellent rider and we have well trained horses. But even still, the horse does spook...

+1 #5 2014-05-12 09:19

I beg to differ on your comments, with exception to one. Yes, some roads will be needed to connect trails. But why make EVERY road a route first? Start with the trails first, and then go from there using small sections of road.

While the number of ATV's currently on roads is rather low at this point (because there aren't any trails) it will most certainly increase at an exponential rate once trails come in and outside people can use those roads.

Take my road for instance... There is nothing on it. There is no businesses, trails, nothing. But if a trail comes in and people not familiar with the area show up, they are going to use it for whatever reason because it is a route. Then I will have a bunch of yahoos driving up and down the road. The lunatics who drive cars, trucks, and bicycles on this road are enough to deal with, let alone flocks of ATV's.

-13 #4 2014-05-12 06:41
The only way to start is with atv routes. Most riders would prefer to ride trails, not routes. But like snowmobiling, routes become necessary to connect 2 trails together or to get to a place of business. Silent sports can still happen, it's not like ATVs will have the capability of running on every square in of the county. Let's think of the future of our county and have things that will bring families here. Not only to play, but to live.
+24 #3 2014-05-06 20:57
Like most people in Vilas county I agree with Tim that we don't need atvs on roads in Vilas county.
What's wrong with having one county in the northwoods that's doing just fine with tourism aimed at silent sports as much as possible in the summer months. The people of Vilas county have voted by a large majority against atvs in the past and I think atv supporters should respect all our wishes.
After all thier are numerous other areas in
northern Wisconsin for atvs.
+20 #2 Harald Karlsson 2014-05-06 14:45
I commend Vilas County that has recognized the safety hazards that these vehicles represent on paved roads. The only result for Three Lakes has been a divided town with a a substantial number of property owners being alienated from their businesses who supported ATV's on paved roads. They made this permanent this winter by passing an Ordinance that appears to have been written by the ATV Club that made it less safe than the original Ordinance. Vilas County would be wise not to follow the example of Three Lakes.
+13 #1 2014-05-06 11:45

Much like yourself, I am an avid ATV'er. The same can be said about my family. And while I do share your belief that ATV trails should be opened, there is a few issues that I see.

1) If you are proposing to use the snowmobile trails as ATV routes, that isn't going to happen. Snowmobile trails run over lakes and swamps, areas that ATV's can't go because they aren't frozen.

2) Making roads as ATV routes is crazy. Here in Sugar Camp, that is exactly what has happened. At this point, there are no trails to speak of. While I think that roads should be used for trail access for residents living on that raod, I don't agree with using roads for routes.

I am all for making a trail system, but the ultimate issue comes in that roads are used as routes. Having driven ATV's nearly my whole life, I can attest to the fact that they are NOT safe on roads at all. They are simply not designed to handle blacktop.

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