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Energy & Environment

More of Willow Flowage Opens to Vehicles

Ryan Afflerbaugh

Willow Flowage roads may see more ATVs and UTVs.  The DNR’s Natural Resources Board has approved an amendment that increases motorized vehicle access. 

Thomas Shockley is the DNR’s Willow Flowage Forester.  

He says the public weighed in on the original management plan for the Flowage.

“The plan that we’re operating under right now that was signed into law in October of 2000 provided some motorized access to the property. But what we were hearing from the public is that there was an interest in increasing the motorized access. So that’s why we sought this amendment.”

The new plan allows cars, trucks and off-road vehicles on about 8 miles of Iron Gate Road.  It opens the entire segment from the day after Labor Day to December 15th...so the area will be accessible during most hunting seasons.  A portion of the road will also be open earlier. 

Shockley says Natural Resources Board is also calling for a complete review of the Willow Flowage plan by 2015. 

“Interests have changed in the past 15 years in northern Wisconsin. The popularity of ATVs and UTVs has surged. So there are always changes going on, and the department wants to be able to adapt to those. And to address some of the new concerns that might be cropping up.”

Shockley says about a hundred people weighed in from all over the state.   The access changes are in effect.  

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