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Planning Process Begins For Woodboro Lakes

Wisconsin DNR

Members of the public are getting a chance to voice what they’d like to see longterm on the Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area in Oneida County.  About 40 people attended a public information session Tuesday night. 

Controversy over a local club’s proposal for what could be the first ATV trail through a state Wildlife Area has been folded into a larger master planning process for the Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area.  It will likely dictate where and if motorized use is allowed. 

The area is primarily used by hunters, but the DNR says it wants to hear from everyone who uses it.

Jay Joppa from Rhinelander says he’d like to see more silent sports development. 

“This area’s real close to the Bearskin state bike trail. I would like to see an extension of the bike trail into the wildlife area, if we’re going to be building trails. I think there’s a big opportunity for horse trails.”

Nokomis ATV Club Secretary Jim Cleary made the original request for an ATV trail last year.  He’s says the area is big enough for all users and is hopeful the trail will make it into the master plan.

“It’s economic, it gets people out, moving around. You know if you open that it up it would probably be about six miles of country roads, forest roads and trails. It’s recreational, it would be good for the area.”

The Nokomis ATV Club's request prompted managers to start developing a comprehensive master plan for the area, which is currently operating without one.

DNR Wildlife Biologist and Woodboro Lakes property manager Jeremy Holtz explains the process helps determine the whether an ATV trail meshes with larger goals for the wildlife area. 

“It takes a look at the entire property, where’s the best fit for a request like that, where’s the most appropriate development opportunities, or is it even something that fits with the property at all.”

A DNR feasibility study found the ATV trail could be built to avoid damage to wetlands, but many maintain concern about noise and impact to wildlife.    

The first public comment period ends January 30th

Planners hope to have a draft master plan by early summer.  

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