Pierce County ATV association up and running
With the popular hobby All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are in this state, one would believe that there is an association in every county, right?
Not exactly, as surprisingly Pierce County was one of three area counties (also including St. Croix and Pepin) not to have one.
"A lot of people talked about it, but no one actually pursued it," said Ellsworth native John (Braut) Jones.
Jones has been one of four people, along with fellow Ellsworth natives Henry Marson, Mark Denzer and Tony Brantner, who are seeking to change that, as they're the officers of the newly-created Pierce County ATV Association.
The interest started a few months ago when Sonja Quist, Denzer, who is vice president, and Jones, who is secretary, attended an ATV meeting in Amery, where the topic was about forming ATV clubs because Dave Voght, a member of the Wisconsin ATV Association, was there that night.
Soon after, Brantner, who was elected treasurer, and Marson, voted president, joined the others. At-large members are Scott Jones, Darren Place and Ruth Gasanbach.
"There was talk about forming a meeting or a club and it seemed like such a good idea, so here I am," said Marson,
Marson, along with the rest of officers, spoke Thursday night at the T-Bar, minutes before the association's "first organized meeting," according to Brantner.
Brantner gave one of many reasons for the formation of the club. This past summer with the rising gas prices and the popularity of ATVs in Pierce County--the number of ATVs registered here surpassed the number of snowmobiles for the first time--it seemed idiotic to drive an hour or two for the commute, ride eight to 10 hours and then drive back.
"It'll be nice to have this in Pierce County because riding can be either family-oriented or for singles," Brantner said.
All of them admitted the paperwork in forming the association has been the greatest difficulty so far, along with being patient, as Voght told the group to expect a two-year wait before trails are implemented.
"We're in this for the long haul," Jones said. "We wouldn't have taken these positions if we weren't interested." (It was mentioned the goal, the four of them said, was to have a winter trail up-and-running by next year.)
And so far, the interest has been there, as over 25 people were at the meeting Thursday night.
"So far, everything's been positive," Brantner said.
The four then listed some surprising facts about ATV riders, with one of them being most of them are age 40 or above.
"They're safe, easy to handle and affordable," Brantner said. "It's a sport of all ages."
Added Marson: "It's something that can be done in the summer, to which you can enjoy nature and the scenery."
With that in mind, all four of them discussed the scenery.
"The animals you've seen on the trails are amazing," Denzer said.
After surviving the paperwork, the next challenge is finding the land. Marson mentioned that, because there is "very little public land in Pierce County," it was stressed at the meeting for the members to talk to their local town chairman and see what could be done.
Other important items from the meeting were the establishment of an address: P.O. Box 897, Ellsworth, WI 54011, the creation of a membership drive and that, by this week, a web site up and running, .