County ATV Association still in early stages in meeting goal
When the Pierce County ATV Association held its first meeting last October, members talked about being patient, as they knew the goal of establishing county trails would take awhile.
As the group recently celebrated its first anniversary, that patience is being preached as the association has spent the last few months going to area towns in the county asking for ATVs to be ridden on town roads.
"Most townships are welcoming to the idea and want to try the process," explained Tony Brantner, an officer with the ATV Association and a member of its Trail Planning Committee. "It's going slower than what we thought, but we're moving in the right direction."
Brantner, along with fellow committee members Darren Place, Eric Markwardt, Dave Swenson and Scott Jones, have focused on six towns --- Martell, Ellsworth, Spring Lake, Gilman, Trimbelle and El Paso--within the county.
Brantner said the only hearing scheduled with those six will be in Ellsworth at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6. The other five are at the readings stage.
"We're willing to play the political game," Brantner said. "...The Trail Planning Committee have worked very hard to get this far and have made a lot of personal sacrifices to do so."
Currently within the county, it's illegal for ATV owners to ride on all state, county and town roads and ditches. In response to that, the ATV association sent a letter to area newspapers explaining what can and can't be done on county roads, along with the crimes and fines for violations (See related information in this week's Herald).
Brantner added the reason why they've been focusing on towns on the eastern side of the county is they want to focus on connecting trails to and from Ellsworth, Spring Valley and Plum City. Getting approval for town roads is crucial, he mentioned, because once that occurs, they can move on to landowners. And that's another reason the eastern side is being heavily pursued, he said, because of the success the Spring Valley ATV club has had with landowners in the St. Croix Valley.
If, or when, the town boards sign off on ATV rides, the Association has come up with ordinances that will establish ATV routes in the town, along with regulating the operation of them. Also of note are some of the restrictions: The speed limit to ride will be no more than 40 miles per hour, all operators shall ride single file and all operators from ages 12 to 15 must have a parent or legal guardian riding with them at all times.