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Minocqua Opens Roads To Local ATV Access, But Board Balks On Blue Lake Road Request

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Minocqua town supervisors say they want more support from residents before opening up a well-traveled town road totally to local ATV travel.

The town board Tuesday had a request from the Lakeland ATV Club to allow residents with ATVs and UTVs to travel all of Blue Lake Road, and several other town roads, to reach official ATV trails in southwestern Oneida County and Price County.

ATV club secretary Phil Albert explains the reason for requesting the roads be open to local ATVers:

“It is a means for the local residents to get to the routes and over to the Willow (Flowage). As we’ve done before, and it’s been successful for four or five years before, we not only wouldn’t put it on the maps we would also post it ‘local access only’ and in some cases, quiet zone, and a lower speed zone based on what the town would authorized for us.”

Town chairman Mark Hartzheim was quick to note that the club’s petition showed only about half of the residents who live along Blue Lake Road and its feeder roads support the measure. The number of signatures fell short of similar petitions in the past, he said.

“We had a great deal of confidence that you guys went up and down the streets. And it may have taken you weeks to do it, but you would get 80 percent of people and it was really easy for us to justify adding a route on that basis...now we got a road -- higher traffic, close to town, joins Highway 51 and we don’t seem to really have a lot of that information.”

Supervisor Billy Fried concurred, saying:

“I really need hard numbers. It sounds like we got a lot of signatures, a lot of data. But we really haven’t sorted out how many properties totally of what’s being proposed in this reading. How many of those property owners did we get signatures? Not just Blue Lake Road, all these other roads. How many were yes, how many were no, how many signatures are we missing? I need that before I even entertain a discussion about the proposal.”

The board did add a lightly populated section of Blue Lake Road between Mercer Lake Road and Sutton Road. But they refused to add Blue Lake Road between Sutton Road and Jahnke Road, and its connecting roads until more residents are on board with it.

Residents can access those roads once the ordinance is published this Friday and signage placed.

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