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Jim Tait Real Estate

home : letters : letters May 26, 2016

3/15/2013 8:41:00 AM
'No' to more ATVs in the Northwoods

To the Editor:

Some local businesses have taken a hit these last years due to lack of snow, the economy and gas prices. They seem to believe that the silver bullet to correct this is to open ATV trails in the area. 

These repeated attempts to open and establish trails in the area have been voted down several times in the past, which is only wise for our communities as a whole.

Who is going to be responsible to regulate and enforce any rules for ATV use? ATVs, by their nature, bring with them noise pollution, soil erosion, soil pollution, transfer of invasive plant species, water pollution and the list goes on and on to even legal aspects – trespassing, destruction of property, poaching, wildlife harassment, and dumping of trash. 

Are we to expect our DNR, our over-worked wardens, to be responsible for this? What strain is this going to put on our first responders dealing with the imminent accidents in far-flung locations? Still, despite all this, there is a clamor for ATV trails due to the economic impact it would have on the area. 

To be fair, let’s look at that a moment. Many communities in the area have worked hard and invested quite a bit into the “quiet, low-impact sports.” We have a system of incredible bike paths and trails, a wealth of hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, and canoe/kayak paths established. The restaurants, hotels, campgrounds and a plethora of other businesses cater to these quiet sports enthusiasts.  Because of this, how many businesses in the area have sprung up offering kayaks, maps, bikes, outdoor gear, and camping gear? Are we really willing to throw those thriving, and in some cases expanding, businesses under the bus by allowing the use of ATVs in our forests?

Go to any number of our local campgrounds in the summer months. They are all packed with happy families toting kayaks, bikes and hiking shoes. They are all enjoying the quiet peace “wilderness” feel of our Northwoods. 

Imagine being camped on a lakeshore. The summer sun is setting, the water like glass, a loon is calling in the distance. There is a sense of overall peace and tranquility. 

Now imagine that same scene where you can’t relax and hear the quiet, or even the loon calls, over the drone of revving engines of ATV enthusiasts camped within the same campground, or from the nearby ATV trails. 

How long before those families go elsewhere? How long before we see businesses closed? How long before any semblance of the Northwoods is destroyed?

ATV trails may look good on the surface. However, the cons far outweight the pros. For those few extra dollars in the “off” months, our communities would suffer economically, socially, legally and the environmental costs would be irreversible. 

“No” to ATV trails in our Northwoods.

Al Eldridge

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013
Article comment by: Gary Meinert

Seriously, There are many more fishermen, bike riders, hikers and campers than ATV riders. I think it's relatively easy to identify ATV riders in our various establishments and I see relatively few by comparison. Where I see most of them is in gas stations.

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Article comment by: Michael Popp

The author of the article shows exactly why other communities are benefitting from ATV trails and most of vilas and onieda county are not. Just keep watching the money flow elsewhere. No with the reduced fishing limits, people will have even fewer reasons to visit the northwoods.

The fact is motorsports enthusiasts spend money. Lots of it. How many hikers and bicyclers are seen at restuarants, bars, and other establishments. Answer: very few. Our communities deserve the chance to review ATV trails again.

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Just

The Eldridge letter about "no more atv trails" is a perfect example of what was heard many times in the early snowmobile days when trails were being developed. It was proven that trails could be developed without ruining others use of the Northwoods. Yes there are some ATV trails but they are very disconnected and involve constant trailering of the ATVs. It is not an understatement that many businesses are suffering and an expansion of ATV trails would deffinetly help. This can also be done in a way to preserve the feel of the Northwoods.

I do not own an ATV but strongly believe we need to support the expansion of ATV trails. If tourists stop coming and supporting our local businesses we all suffer!

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Article comment by: JAY GIESE

Get out and maybe you would see why people like to ATV. I am a disable vet and this is how I can get out and have fun.

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: Gary Meinert

I have and always will be in opposition to having ATV's near where we live. Those who want them claim their "rights" because some ride bikes and hike etc. They don't understand the difference. ATV's annoy the huge majority of people because of their belching fumes and endless noise. They are effecting others while Biking and hiking does neither.

Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013
Article comment by: Jean Roach

Al Eldridge's letter says it all about how the needless pandering to ATV enthusiasts brings serious risks. There is a place for ATV's and townships and counties have been cooperative about providing many miles of trails for them. More miles and development will upset the delicate balance and not be good for the economy.

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