“We need the public’s help.”
By Brandi Makuski
The Town of Plover is looking to spearhead a local movement catering to ATV/UTV riders.
Wednesday’s town board meeting was packed with local residents- as well as some from the Town of Grant- to hear details on an effort to create a county-wide trail for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility task vehicles (UTVs).
Town Chairman Tim Karcheski said the move would require creating a new town ordinance- and noted there were many details to sort out- but said he and other board members have already received positive feedback from residents, though not necessarily from rural businesses.
“I think there are some business owners in the community who maybe are a little worried about potential damage that could be caused by the ATVs on their property,” Karcheski said.
Jon Scharbarth, a conservation warden with the Dept. of Natural Resources, said following passage of similar ATV/UTV ordinances other counties, wardens and businesses have not reported problems along designated trails.
“In fact, the opposite seems to have happened,” Scharbarth said. “Once the trail is made and the ordinance is created, there’s more of a presence of law-abiding riders, and that kind of wiped the fears of any problems away; it seems to have the opposite effect than what people were worried about.”
The current route travels east on Biron Dr., then east on Club Forest Dr. and crosses Highway 54 to Meehan Drive. The route continues south and east from there, ending near Four Star Family Restaurant.
Town Board Supervisor Jim Rowe said the town hopes to expand the route but needs support from neighboring municipalities, hoping to eventually create a contiguous trail throughout the entire county.
Meetings with officials in the towns of Grant and Stockton, as well as Saratoga and Kellner near the Wood Co. line, are planned in the near future to determine options.
“The best way to get this going is to start an ATV club of some kind, similar to what they do with snowmobiles,” Rowe said. “We need the public’s help in reaching out to let local businesses know this will benefit them. [The board] needs the public’s help.”
Several points were discussed during the meeting, to include potential costs of trail signage and maintenance, as well as any liability the town carried in the event of an injured rider. Joan Scheider, the town’s clerk/treasurer, said she was awaiting additional information on the issue from the Wisconsin Towns Association.
Karcheski said he knows residents travel outside of the county to utilize ATV/UTV trails, and feels both the town and the county are missing out on tourism dollars as a result.
“We’re missing the boat on tourism by not having this,” Karcheski said. “Business owners need to realize people will utilize these trails to go to their businesses. And if we can line up our trails with those from other counties, well, that’s a win-win.”
The discussion will continue at the next meeting of the town board on Feb. 4 at 6 PM. The town hall is location at 5081 Hoover Ave. in Plover.
*This story is developing. Check back for updates.