ATV/ UTV use in county forest?
Parks committee meeting scheduled for Dec. 1
By Greg Seubert
Should the Waupaca County Forest’s trail system be open to all- and utility-terrain vehicle use?
The Waupaca County Board’s Parks and Recreation Committee will discuss that question at a special meeting Tuesday, Dec. 1.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Waupaca County Fairgrounds in Weyauwega.
The committee oversees the management of the 200-acre property. Access to the forest is located on Desert Road in the town of Fremont.
Information about the meeting can be found on the Waupaca County website and the Waupaca County Parks Department’s Facebook page.
“ATV use is getting more and more popular,” according to the information. “Many townships have allowed ATVs to use their roads to get from point A to B. As there are more ATV/UTVs out there, people are looking for safe places to ride them. There is very little public land open for trail use of ATVs in this area.”
Opening the Waupaca County Forest to ATV/UTV use would provide a safer, contained area where people could practice their riding skills and enjoy the area.
Opening the trails to ATV/UTV use would require a larger parking lot to accommodate more truck and trailer rigs.
“This would happen around where the existing parking area is,” according to the information. “The next step would be to designate trails on the property that would provide for safe traffic flow of ATVs/UTVs. A big part of this process would be proper signing of trails and posting of property boundaries to prevent users from trespassing on neighboring properties.”
The parks department maintains the forest, which is popular with hunters, horse riders and hikers.
“If it should become too much of a burden, the site will be shut down,” according to the information. “In the future, some sort of partnership with an ATV club should be pursued to help maintain the trails/features in a way that users enjoy. It is likely a fee will be added for ATV/UTV use to help fund the project.”
The committee should address hunting, nonmotorized trail use, noise and trespassing, according to the information.
“There will have to be discussion on what time of year the park will be open to ATV/UTV use,” according to the information. “This park is open for hunting, so do you restrict ATV use? And for what seasons? Trail layout can help with close neighbors, but noise will happen. Operating hours should be discussed. What about modified machines? Who can enforce whatever standards are adopted?”
Signs near adjacent private property should help with trespassing issues.
“Enforcement action early on will also prevent future problems,” according to the information. “There may need to be gates added to some trails that lead to neighboring properties.”
The meeting will follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. An agenda and livestream access information will be posted on the Waupaca County website, www.co.waupaca.wi.us.