A surge in ATV/UTV activity in Vilas County starting last May also saw a surge in complaints to the Vilas County Sheriff's office according to a report this week from deputy Jason Molle, recreation resource officer, to the county law enforcement committee.
“There's been a drastic uptick in ATV complaints and I believe this shows a heavy increase in ATV traffic,” Molle said. “In all of 2019 we had 43 ATV complaints and so far this year we've had 50. I did 101 hours of ATV patrol and gave out 11 citations and 27 written warnings.”
Some of the most common warnings were not having headlights on during the day and lack of wearing safety helmets. There were three reported ATV accidents and one citation for ATV operating while intoxicated and illegal ATV operating on a highway.
Deputy Molle also indicated 89 hours of boat patrol with five citations issued and 18 written warnings. Citations included operating personal watercraft without a valid safety certificate, operating too close to shore.
The Sheriff's department will have a permanent pier and boat lift for their large patrol boat on the Eagle River thanks to financial support from the chain association. The boat was donated to the county by a person who witnessed a fatal boating accident. Their second smaller patrol boat will be used on other county lakes.
Sheriff Joe Fath indicated there have been inquiries from St. Germain for boat patrol on two lakes that would be paid for by lake districts but didn't think it could be done. He suggested they contact Manitowish Waters that uses a constable for boat patrol.