Department of Natural Resources staff will be on hand to field questions and take comments about a proposed all terrain vehicle route at the Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area Tuesday, Aug. 19.
The public open house will be held from 4-7 p.m. at the Northwoods Community Elementary School in Harshaw.
The Nokomis ATV Club asked for an ATV/UTV trail to be added across the southeast portion of the property. The requested route is 1.4 miles long and would run on an existing snowmobile trail.
Those attending the open house will have an opportunity to discuss the DNR’s analysis of the proposed trail and provide comments.
“We need to take all comments in writing for documentation purposes, so if people come and they want to, they can fill out the comment form and leave it with us in the box,” DNR wildlife biologist Jeremy Holtz said.
The open house is part of an ongoing process. There was a meeting earlier this year to gauge the public’s feelings.
“We had our first meeting, which was to inform people of the request and explain the process,” Holtz said. “And the process included collecting the first round of public input so, in other words, if the information we got from people stated overwhelmingly that ... there’s no reason to proceed, then it wouldn’t proceed.”
The DNR is engaging the public for input, not to tally votes.
“It’s not a quantitative vote. It’s not like whoever gets the most votes wins. It’s more like we collect the feedback from people and use that,” Holtz said.
At the initial public meeting, there was input from both sides.
“The feedback we got was mixed. Some people were in support and some weren’t,” Holtz said. “But we decided there was enough support to move forward with the evaluation.
“We did a feasibility analysis – kind of looking at the site and whether or not it would be possible to put a trail there. And now we’re having the meeting to let people know what the results of the first public commentary were and what information we got from the feasibility analysis – the staff evaluating the site.”
Holtz said there was “a pretty good crowd” at the first public meeting concerning the possible ATV/UTV use.
“From my experience, any time you have a meeting that involves all terrain vehicles, you get good attendance from that crowd,” he said.
The Northwoods Community Elementary School is located at 9086 County Highway K, and is right across the road from the Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area.
The property is a forested 3,000-acre area located about 10 miles west of Rhinelander. It has an extensive network of walking trails and lightly developed roads. Use of ATVs/UTVs is not currently allowed.
Following public review, the trail request will be forwarded to the Natural Resources Board for a final decision. The public will also have an opportunity to provide comments to the board at that time.
How to comment
It’s not necessary to attend the open house or NRB meeting to submit comments on the proposed ATV/UTV trail. The DNR will accept initial public comment regarding the ATV/UTV trail and feasibility analysis until 5 p.m., Aug. 25.
Comments may be directed to Jeremy Holtz, Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area, 107 Sutliff Ave., Rhinelander, WI 54501; by email to Jeremy.Holtz@Wisconsin.gov; or by calling 715-365-8999.
To view the feasibility report, visit dnr.wi.gov, search keywords “master planning,” and select “Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area.” Copies are available at the Rhinelander DNR office, or by contacting Jeremy Holtz at the phone number or address listed.
Craig Turk may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.