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ATV/UTV and Snowmobile User Groups Reach Agreement on Trail Maintenance


Cooperation between ATV/UTV groups and snowmobile groups took a big step forward at last week’s meeting of the Vilas County Forestry, Recreation & Land Committee.

Representatives of the two groups agreed to share trails and trail maintenance in the Vilas County Forest.

Committee chair Holly Tomlanovich has tried to find a solution on trail maintenance for several years now.

“What we’re charged with here is how to make recreation of ATV’s and snowmobiles possible together,” she said, referring to the county committee’s job. “Infighting between user groups doesn’t solve anything; we need an air clearing on this issue.”

Conover Sno-Buddies representative Randy Remblake and ATV Alliance president Jack Bourgeois also agreed better communication and cooperation was needed to maintain the trails.

The committee authored a draft to identify when the use of shared trails starts and ends.

According to the draft, ATVs and UTVs can use the trails any time after May 1, as long as conditions are safe.

The county can close the trails for ATV/UTV use if conditions are deteriorating or after October 31, whichever is earlier.

Then, snowmobiles can use the trails from December 1 through March 31, with official opening and closing announcements based on trail conditions.

Snowmobile clubs that share trails with ATVs and UTVs will have to complete maintenance and rehabilitation between Nov. 16 and April 14.

Both groups will have to attend mandatory meetings that focus on trail issues.

Remblake said that “when the snowmobile use closes a joint inspection of the shared trail should be made to discover any needed maintenance and when the ATV/UTV season closes a like joint inspection is made.”

Bourgeois agreed that sounded reasonable.

Another ATV/UTV issue was brought up by Ron DeBruyne, Jr. who would like to see a “Challenge Trail” developed.

“We need a variety of trails such as a low speed ‘Challenge Trail’ rather than the same specifications for all trails,” DeBruyne, Jr. said. “Users are getting bored with the same old, same old. We would like to develop a trail that challenges users like the development of the Tamarack Off-Highway trail system.”


Trail bridges belong to the county since they were constructed with state grants, so the two groups also discussed responsibilities for maintaining bridges.

Tomlanovich said the county has insurance on the bridges and they are inspected with forest administrator Al Murray.

But these inspections are for “design carrying capacity,” not maintenance.

It was suggested that snowmobile clubs do spring inspections and repair any damage, and ATV/UTV clubs do a fall inspection and likewise repair damage.

Remblake then proposed to start with a joint inspection to make sure both parties start on the same page.

The committee decided to keep records of maintenance for state grant reimbursements requests.

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