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ATV/UTV trails to open soon in the Pelican River Forest

Katie Thoresen
The Pelican River Forest.

As we walk down a logging road in the Pelican River Forest, Gary Dominski reflects on what it took to get to this moment.

He’s the President of the Pel-Cho Mudd Nutz ATV/UTV Club.

“We founded the club in 2014 with the intent of creating a recreational hub in Monico, and the opportunity to do that centered around this property,” said Dominski.

Dominski said efforts to work with the previous landowners didn’t get the group very far, but progress was made after Dominski learned the land had been bought by The Conservation Fund.

“Our goal initially, quite frankly, was obviously access to the property and have ATV/UTV trails all the way up to Three Lakes. Whether we'll ever get that to fruition, I don't know. There's geographically hurdles to overcome. But I know we are looking at continuing to develop additional trails now north of Pelican or Highway 8 because of the easement finally coming into fruition,” said Dominski.

Starting June 1st an ATV trail on the Pelican River Forest will open. It goes from the north end of Pelican Lake to Highway 8 near Monico.

“It's really what ATV/UTV riders want. They don't want to ride on the roads, they want to ride on trails, forest roads. I wasn't here in fall, the colors had to be spectacular, I would have expected and that's what it's all about is getting out in nature,” said Dominski. “It gives a great opportunity for somebody physically challenged or physically handicapped to get out and enjoy nature via the sport of ATV/UTV riding.”

A recently released report from the Wisconsin ATV Association found that ATV/UTV riders had a nearly $5.5 million economic impact on the state in 2023.

Dominski hopes with these trails opening soon and more in the future, some of the economic impact will come to this portion of the Northwoods.

“I think what you got to look at is really the economic impact that the sport brings. Snowmobiling is not what it used to be. The winters aren't what it used to be. This is another avenue for local businesses to profit from and bring people to the area,” said Dominski.

You can view a trail map here. Dominski says there will be signage to direct riders.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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