To the Editor:
We wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Vilas County supervisors who voted in favor of amending the Vilas County forest plan to allow town boards to ask the county board for permission to open county roads to ATV/UTV vehicles.
This now allows only those towns in Vilas County who want and need this vital addition to their commerce base to take their plans to the county board.
The anti-motorized contingent has been threatening the county board supervisors with their onslaught of letters and phone calls for the last 10-plus years citing out-of-date, even slanderous information about the safety of these vehicles and their threat to the environment. When in fact 70 of the 72 Wisconsin counties have allowed ATV/UTV trails in their counties for years and have enjoyed the increase in revenue that this sporting community brings.
We think the discrimination has gone on long enough and it is about time that those of us who love the sport be able to enjoy it in the county we live in.
Vilas County should be able to take advantage of the registration fees that go to the State of Wisconsin and are then given to the 70 other counties to improve their trails. Vilas County should be given a chance for the local businesses to enjoy the economic development this would bring to them.
Think of the number of ATV/UTV enthusiasts who drive through Vilas County nine months out of the year to Iron, Price, Lincoln, Forest and Oneida counties to ride. They are taking their dollars from our hotels, campgrounds, gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores, and that creates a trickle-down effect to every one of us.
The anti-motorized group cites their motive to keep Vilas County the “silent sport” county. If so then we should not allow snowmobiles, watercraft or motor boats here – what do you think that would do to the Vilas economy? They say that silent sport tourists will stop coming here if we allow ATV/UTV-really? After all the tax money we have spent on these fabulous bike trails? We doubt it.
What our Vilas County supervisors finally realized is that there is room for all these sports – and that the discrimination against one group must end. This will allow for clubs and town to come together and plan for an outcome that will be beneficial to all who come to Vilas County, whether they ride on two wheels without a motor or four wheels with one. We applaud and thank the Vilas County supervisors who will not be bullied or threatened any longer.
Toni and Richard Jaskowiak
Lac du Flambeau