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Eagle River Will Accept ATV Route Proposals

Natalie Jablonski

The debate over where All Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs, will be allowed to ride in Vilas County has sparked debates across the townships. Eagle River joined in the discussion last night. The city council will be accepting proposals for ATV routes downtown.

Last night’s city council meeting saw a lively discussion about whether and where to allow ATVs in Eagle River. Said city councilman Jerry Burkett,

ATVs are here. That doesn’t mean we can’t establish a corridor that works for everybody if we decide to do that.

The town of Lincoln, which encircles Eagle River, recently voted to allow ATVs on its roads. One option under discussion was to create north-south corridor for ATVs through Eagle River, connecting riders and their potential business with surrounding towns. But that can be tricky, as Eagle River Police Chief Mark Vander Bloomen explained. There’s an access law that allows snowmobilers to travel city streets to get to their trails,

That does not apply to ATVs. So therefore, every municipal street in the city has to either be an ATV route or not an ATV route. Everything has to be specifically spelled out in the ordinance.

In other words, you can only ride your ATV out of your driveway if your road is an ATV-approved route.

More than a dozen concerned citizens and business owners spoke at the meeting, urging the city council to look at the big picture and give the people of Eagle River a chance to decide whether and where they want to allow ATVs. The city council decided to do just that. In the coming weeks, members of snow mobile, bike trail, and other concerned groups will have a chance to propose their preferred routes for an ATV corridor. Public hearings have been proposed for 2015. The city council hopes to make a decision this winter.

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