Vilas County

Snowmobile routes and ATV/UTV routes sometimes use the same trail segments on the Vilas County Forest, but often maintenance issues develop between the two groups.

Last week the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club of Eagle River requested to be given upkeep responsibility of the current ATV/UTV trails south of Bauer’s Dam.

But the Landover ATV/UTV Club of Conover is opposed to that action.

Sno-Eagles representative Howard Wolf indicated their membership voted to become a duel sports club and currently maintain 90 miles of snowmobile trails.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Jeff Currie and his wife Ann took advantage of the early snow melt to get a look at the latest progress on the Great Headwaters Trails.

“I must say this is the first time we’ve taken a look at it,” said Jeff. “It’s definitely dramatic.”

They’re exploring the corner of Song Hill Lane and County Highway K, west of Phelps. That’s where the 8.5 mile stretch of trail from Conover ends and the work on the last segment of trail is beginning.

Over the winter, loggers came through and took down trees that are still strewn over where the path will wind through the woods.


As the last of the ice is quickly melting, many people look forward to getting their boats back in the water.

This also means groups will once again head to boat launches in an effort to keep Aquatic Invasive Species [AIS] out of the lakes.

AIS can be determinantal on a lake’s a health.

Eurasian Water Milfoil, Curly-Leaf Pondweed, and Spiny Water Fleas have all been found in lakes in Vilas County.

Wikimedia Commons

In a surprise vote, the Vilas County board of supervisors denied 6-11 seating a person recommended by chairman Ron DeBruyne to fill a vacant board position.

DeBruyne recommended approval of Christopher Mayer of Lac du Flambeau to fill the position of District 10 left vacant with the resignation of Al Bauman, but was opposed by Supervisor Bob Hanson who claimed there were 42 Wisconsin Department of Revenue state tax warrants filed against Mayer.

Wisconsin DNR

Warning Note: Some people may find the language in the text and audio of this story offensive. WXPR has chosen to say the name of the lake so that it’s clear which lake name is being changed and as an educational tool for the derogatory term.

A lake in Western Oneida and Vilas Counties will likely be getting a new name.

The Wisconsin Geographic Names Council voted to approve the name change and send it to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

The reason for the name change is because the current name for the lake is derogatory toward Native American women.


Extensive discussion on what development options should be considered for Phase 3 of the Torch Lake RV campground in Conover was identified recently by the Vilas County forestry, recreation and land committee with initial clearing to begin this month to add 21 sites.


Road reconstruction season is fast approaching. The Vilas County traffic safety commission reviewed those areas last week where motorists can expect delays and detours this summer.

One of the longest reconstruction areas will be 12.6 miles of Highway 70 east from Highway 45 to Divide Road in Forest County. This is expected to start in June and not be finished until sometime in August, but no detours will be involved.


Snowmobile trails across the Northwoods are starting to close as the forecast calls for temperatures in the 50s this week.

Oneida County will close its trails at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 9.

Vilas County trails close at midnight Monday.

Lincoln, Langlade, and Forest County Trails are already closed.

In a statement Oneida County said, “The Oneida County Forestry Department would like to thank all the snowmobile clubs and volunteers for their hard work and dedication in keeping our trails safe and in great shape despite the challenges of a short season.”

Ken Anderson

Understanding the terminology, technology, and cost of bringing faster broadband service to Vilas County was explained to the county board of supervisors last week by Bill Niemuth, a director with the county economic development corporation.

Niemuth explained the reason to invest in broadband is to improve the economy via remote workers but in rural areas installing broadband service can be expensive.

County jails are inspected each year by the Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections to assess safety, sanitation, adequacy and fitness of the jail for inmates and provide areas of operations that need to be addressed or modified.

The Vilas County jail was inspected last October with the final report received the end of January according to jail administrator Bill Weiss and was approved for continued operation with two areas where violations were observed and recommendations for improvements.


Investigators are looking into a fire at Haskall Lodge in Lac du Flambeau.

The Vilas County Sheriff’s Office said a call for the fire came in around 3:00 Thursday afternoon.

It started in the office and spread from the there.

Fire crews were called in from Lac du Flambeau, Woodruff, Minocqua, Lake Tomahawk, Pike Lake, and Hazelhurst.

The Sheriff’s Office says the investigation is on going.

Vilas County Sheriff's Office

Update (12:49 p.m.): SH 51 near CTH W (Rest Lake Rd) will be temporarily shut down for approximately 45-60min. Crews are working to remove a semi from the ditch.

The Vilas County Sheriff’s Office is urging drivers to slow down on the roads Friday.

There have been three different accidents along Hwy 51 as road conditions deteriorate.

A semi rolled over on its side on Hwy 51 and Rest Lake. A car rolled over on Hwy 51 north of CTH H and there was a third roll over on Hwy 51 and Spider Cir.


A cost overrun is expected for the Highway K bridge over the Wisconsin River in Conover due to reclassifying the road with updated traffic counts according to a report to the highway committee last week by Vilas County highway commissioner Troy Schalinske.

“The original construction cost provided $1,144,805 that included in-kind bridge replacement and approach work with a temporary bypass for traffic control during construction,” Schalinske said. “There were elements that caused an increase that were not known at the time of estimation.”

One million dollars by 2024, that’s the goal of the Tomorrow’s Kids Endowment Fund.  The money will go toward sustaining the Feed Our Rural Kids program.

FORK started in 2019 with the goal of making sure children in Vilas County don’t go hungry.

It’s a feeling Keith Kentula knows all too well.

New Vilas County Recreation Supervisor Selected

Feb 15, 2021
Ken Anderson

Todd Bierman of Phelps was hired as the Recreation Supervisor for Vilas County.

Bierman was the previous parks supervisor for the town of Phelps.

He felt the multi-use of trail systems on the county forest will increase and the issue is who and how will the trails be maintained.

“We need cooperation by all recreation users to keep up with what we have and to increase use,” Bierman said. Asked for future recreation areas to look at, he didn’t hesitate by identifying “enhancing a water trail on the Wisconsin River.”