To the Editor:
On Aug. 27 there was a town board meeting held in Boulder Junction. I was unable to attend the meeting, but asked a friend to read a letter to the town board for me. My husband and I (along with the majority of citizens and tax payers of Boulder Junction) are extremely concerned about the attempts at allowing ATVs on our town roads and even in town itself. Our feelings are as below:
I am Sara Muender, owner and operator of Moondeer & Friends Gallery at 10354 Main Street, downtown Boulder Junction. My husband Thomas Folsom and I are the owners of approximately an acre of land at this location. In 2008 we invested in the town of Boulder Junction by spending almost $500,000 to erect the building presently housing Moondeer & Friends Gallery, a thriving and successful business which is growing every year. We decided to invest in Boulder Junction because of its reputation as an upscale community which has always had many fine businesses, galleries and restaurants. It’s the closest thing to a Door County town that we have in the Northwoods. People come from all over our area to shop in Boulder Junction. Moondeer & Friends Gallery in particular has a loyal following of visitors who come from as far away as Madison, Wausau and all over the U.P. just to visit the gallery. A common comment is that it’s “just like going to a museum.” I represent not only my own art work, but the work of approximately 150 local and regional artists. I have been told that my gallery is the finest in the Northwoods, bringing much attention to B.J. from the art community.
In spite of the survey that was done in January that plainly showed that the majority of electors, property owners and business owners do not want to see ATVs and UTVs allowed on County Roads K and M, it has been brought to our attention that there is still a push by a minority to do exactly this. My husband and I wish to register our strong disapproval of this idea, as we fear that our property values will go down and that my gallery business will be adversely affected. I know for a fact that my customers will be horrified at having to be exposed to the noise and danger of ATVs in the downtown area, especially on Main Street where my business is located. My fiscal year 2018 was my best year of earnings ever since I opened in 2001, and this June and July 2019 earning are the best ever, topping the 2018 earnings, so clearly my business is not suffering from a lack of ATV/UTV business in town. Please count me as one downtown business who will suffer if ATVs are allowed on our town roads.
In addition, we are very afraid that ATVs would interfere with our extremely successful bike path system, which in our experience is attracting more and more visitors every year. These visitors are usually up-scale people from the cities who spend money in the shops after they finish their rides, enjoy our many fine restaurants, and rent rooms in our hotels. They are clean, quiet, respectful of our area, and have expendable income. We know for a fact that they will be horrified to be competing with the noise, pollution and danger of ATVs near our bike trail system. The introduction of ATV traffic threatens to choke off the visits of people who would likely seek other locations for summer visits, such as Door County, where they need not compete with motorized recreational machinery on roads that used to be peaceful. At this point in time B.J. is still special as one of the few remaining townships in Vilas County who are ATV-free. People come from the cities to get away from noise and pollution. Please don’t ruin this for us. “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
Along with all of the people who responded to your survey, my husband and I thought that the decision to allow ATVs in our town was going to be made by our town supervisors according to the results of the January survey. Why is the board now even considering the ATV question? Are you being bullied by a small minority of “businesses,” a majority of whom are not located in the downtown area? I looked at the petition of business owners who wanted ATVs in town, and only 24 are actually located in the downtown area. Many are fishing guides, people who work from home, or otherwise not located in town. I fail to see how these businesses will benefit from having ATVs in our downtown area.
I am begging you not to allow ATVs/UTVs anywhere near my Main Street business. I don’t want to see them, hear them or smell them, and neither do my customers. Please follow the wishes of the majority of people in Boulder Junction and keep ATVs/UTVs off our town roads, and especially off of Main Street.
Sara Muender and Thomas Folsom