I am an advocate for off-highway and dual sport motorcycle and trail issues in Wisconsin. From time to time I will post information about issues that affect Wisconsin riders.
I have been appointed to the Wisconsin State Trails Council as the Off-Highway Motorcycle representative. I will be working hard in that capacity to try to improve our posture in Wisconsin.
23 June 2011: Over the winter I worked with Forest County, WI, to try to get access for dual sport motorcycles on two State trails they manage. I was able to sell the idea to Forest County, but we were still blocked from the trails until the DNR changed their policy to allow motorcycles on State trails where ATVs are allowed. I am happy to report that the policy has now been changed. This means that we should be on the trail in Forest County as soon as I verify everything is in place there.
The policy change is not as simple as an “on/off” switch. We still need to work with the local jurisdictions that manage the State trails to get them to include motorcycle use as part of their master plan for the trail. This is something similar to what I did with Forest County. Once I get a copy of the policy in hand, I’ll develop some guidance for us to use to go about getting access to more State trails.
6 July 2011: DNR has no plans at this time to propose motorcycle use on the DNR managed State Trails. (State Trails are the 41 linear trails listed in NR 51.73.)
County trail partners cooperatively manage some State Trails and can allow use. Of the 41 State Trails, 25 are cooperatively managed by counties.
Use requires an amendment to the county master plan for the trail. This requires a public input process – that same as for a new trail use. This is what I went through with Forest County.
Motorcycle use will only be considered in rural areas where ATV use is already permitted.
Dual sport motorcycles can be allowed. OHM cannot. OHM are not street legal which presents a problem at road crossings and road segments. OHM do not have a readily identifiable plate or sticker.
Local rules the DNR requires include:
-decibel limit of 96
-minimum operating age of 12 unless with parent or guardian
-helmet for all
-at least until a sticker program is in place, a trail pass will be required for those trails that require a trail pass (Forest County does not require a trail pass.)
-speed limits the same as for ATVs on the trails
-follow safety and etiquette guidelines
Motorcycle use has been previously allowed on the Cattail State Trail in Polk and Barron Counties and also on the Pecatonica State Trail in Lafayette County.
The DNR has received no reports of problems specific to motorcycle use on those trails.
Motorcycle use is also allowed at the Richard Bong State Recreation Area and the Black River State Forest where they operate on trails with ATVs.
So, to get access the to the 25 State Trails that are cooperatively managed by the counties, a group would have to approach the county to request a change to their master plan that would allow a new use (DS motorcycles) on the trail or portion of trail that they manage. The county would have to arrange for public input so that the pros and cons can be evaluated. If and when the plan is changed, DS would be allowed.
If you have a cooperatively managed State Trail that you want to get access to, let’s talk about it a bit and look at a course of action to pursue it. We want to do it right since we don’t want a premature denial.
7 July 2011:
When can we start using the Forest County trails?
Talked to them again this morning. They need a minor tweak to their master plan and the county board needs to approve it. They also need to alter their ordinance to include enforcement measures for DS on the trails.
The board meets in August and October.
They recently bought and installed some high quality signs showing permitted uses on the trail. Now they need to buy some supplemental signs that add horses and DS motorcycles.
8 July 2011:
News about the Motorized Recreation Area (park) that is proposed for the southern part of the state:
-actively working with a couple of potential properties.
-looking at moving forward in the next year “or so”. (things do no move quickly in this business)
-should know something in about six months.
Buying the land is one thing, developing it will be the bigger challenge. The vision is that this motorized recreation area would be a multi-use destination with a variety of activities besides motorized recreation.
The DNR will be looking for partners to help develop the property. This is something to think about.
29 August 2011:
Someone recently asked about fee boxes at the trailheads of the Perkinstown Motorized Trail (National Forest).
The fee is for parking in the lot, not for riding the trail.
So if you ride onto the trail on your bike and do not park a vehicle at the trailhead lot there still is no fee.
This is also true for the Flambeau Trail System in the National Forest near Park Falls.
2 October 2011:
The ATV Association invited me to their VIP ride for legislators, government officials, and centers of influence. I was able to make a pitch to a few people about some of our off-highway motorcycle initiatives. I furnished some written background material to some to explain further. Also nice to visit with some contacts that I have done business with in the past.
Last call to the Capital indicates that the draft OHM legislation will finally be available later this month. We will need to carefully scrub the draft and proceed from there.
Been working to get OHM/DS motorcycling into the Forest Co Outdoor Recreation Plan. The Wisconsin Dual Sport Riders are supporting this effort by writing some letters and working with some local contacts. It is important to be included in County outdoor recreation plans. When project grants become available, one check is that the intended use is addressed in the rec plans. We will need to follow up with other counties in a similar manner.
The Forest Co board should vote this month to give final approval to DS motorcycle access to the State trails in the county. You may remember that this initiative required the DNR to make a policy change regarding State trails and motorcycles. This willl open the door to addressing other opportunities in some of the other counties that manage State trails.
26 October 2011:
Just received the preliminary draft of the off-highway/dual sport motorcycle legislation we have been working on (back from the legislative reference bureau).
I think we first met with the LRB reps about 10 months ago. A lot has been going on in the state this year legislatively so the work on this project was not a priority for quite a while.
We are giving this draft a very close scrub right now.
More information later on.
26 October 2011:
Hello fellow OHM/DS motorcyclists,
We’ve got a potential problem brewing that we need to try to head off.
A freshman congressman from Indiana is working to get an amendment to the transportation bill that would take Title 23 funds and make them available for “emergency” projects (something loosely defined) based on what a state governor defines as an emergency.
The problem is that our Recreational Trail Program money would be swept up in this as well. Even though RTP funds amount to only about 0.2% of the total Title 23 funds, it would be devastating for some of our trail initiatives in Wisconsin that rely on these funds.
Right now we need some people to contact Tom Petri (R-WI) [6th Dist – Oshkosh/Fondy] and Reid Ribble (R-WI) [NE WI] who are members of the relevant committee and ask them not to co-sponsor this amendment or support it once it is introduced. If you live in those districts please act now!
Basically, we want to tell our guys that Rep Buchson’s proposed amendment to the transportation bill to allow use of Title 23 funds for emergency repairs to transportation facilities (if a state governor determines an emergency exists) would wipe out the small amount of money that we rely on for our recreational trails. Even though the amount is small, the impact on our state trail programs would be very severe.
This effects trails in Michigan as well . . .
27 October 2011
Previously I began an initiative to get off-highway motorcycling into the Forest County Outdoor Recreation Plan (2012-2016). This is important because certain grants cannot be made if the activity is not in the plan. I worked with the Wisconsin Dual Sport Riders, who conduct events in Forest County, to pursue this.
I am happy to report off highway motorcycling, dual sport motorcycling, single track motorcycle trail, and even a motorized recreation area (4WD initiative) are in the draft plan being worked on right now. None of this was in the previous plan.
This is the same county in which we sought DS motorcycle access to State trails the county manages. This resulted in a DNR policy change allowing counties to allow us on State trails.
Many thanks to the WDSR folks who submitted letters, made personal contacts, or undertook other activities to help us achieve this.
We need to engage other counties where we might be interested in developing single track motorcycle trails to make sure our interests are accounted for in their plans.
I know this may not seem like a lot of product, but chipping away to set the stage is what it takes and that also takes time. We need to get things set so that once we have a registration program for OHM generating funds to construct and sustain trails, we can get something built.
Here is some info from the draft: (I will keep following up to make sure we don’t get bumped from the plan before it is approved by the County Board.)
Single track motorcycle trails:
With the increasing demand for dual sport and off highway motorcycling in Forest County the county should support these activities. The county should work with groups like the Wisconsin Dual Sport Riders to locate appropriate areas to designate for dual sport and off highway motorcycling.
WISCONSIN DUAL SPORT RIDERS
NCWRPC staff has received over 10 letters from members of the Wisconsin Dual Sport Riders. This organization has held dual sport motorcycle evens in Wabeno for the past ten (10) years. Wisconsin Dual Sport Riders has worked with Forest County in the past to gain access on the state trails that the county manages. The Wisconsin Dual Sports Riders wants off-highway and dual sport motorcycling be included in the Outdoor Recreation Plan. The issues facing this group is to raise awareness of off-high and dual sport motorcycling in the county and to have access to county and state trails in the area.
One of the top priorities for Forest County is the development of a large destination MotorizedRecreation Area (MRA). Potential sites will need to be studied further to identify the best location for this park, however this type of development would fit ideally since it would utilize the natural assets of the county and benefit overall tourism and quality of life in the county.The County has a long history with off road vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles. For over 40 years the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway has hosted the Brush Run Races and World Championship Races. The Crandon International Off-Road Raceway annually attracts thousands of motorized recreational enthusiasts to Forest County. The Motorized Recreation Area would have a synergistic relationship with the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway to make it a premier destination.
27 October 2011
The proposed Motorized Recreation Area (essentially a state park for OHM, ATVs, and 4WD) is in a stage that makes it very real. Property has been identified in SW WI for the MRA. The DNR is at the point where they need to gain acceptance from the local government and residents. When that process is successful, things will break open and the serious work can begin.
There will come a time when there will be public hearings concerning this facility. When that time comes, we need to attend those hearings and show strong support. If we want it, we will need to fight for it.
We also need to look ahead to a time when we will need a club or a consortium of area (southern WI, northern IL, eastern IA) clubs to act as a friends of the park group to do trail maintenance. We will also need to look ahead to doing fundraisers that can contribute to some facilities at the park. The DNR does the heavy lifting with land purchases and much of the development of the facility. It is common practice for user groups to contribute for some facilities that are useful but not essential.
This MRA will satisfy some demand but it will also create more demand for OHM trail. Once we have more places to ride in the southern part of the state, more people will get into riding.
12 Nov 11
Made a pitch to some clubs this morning about expanding the use of GPS for dual sport events. Wisconsin Dual Sport Riders has been offering tracks with great success for about five years.
GPS technology is no longer “emerging”. It is here and has widespread use. The idea is to get more clubs involved with making tracks available for events so we can all evolve together.
No doubt there will come a day when roll charts become a thing of the past. Electronic mapping and distribution of tracks, maps, and other relevant information for events has the potential to increase efficiency for both clubs and riders.
For now, both tracks and roll charts are still on the menu. But those that have been on the fence about getting involved with GPS for dual sporting would be well served to start moving toward GPS now. GPS is not just good for events, it also allows riders to get more opportunities to ride apart from the events by being able to take advantage of the large number of dual sport tracks that are available to be downloaded and ridden any time.
I will be conducting a class for some club members that will be involved in preparing event tracks to make sure that we produce quality products for riders to enjoy.
Riding GPS tracks makes for a smooth and sporty ride as the navigaton becomes less burdensome and we get to concentrate more on enjoying the ride at an even pace.
Those that are new to GPS will find plenty of help to get them up and running with their units at the events.
And of course, not every rider will require a GPS. Just as we often do now with one or two riders in a group leading with a roll chart while others follow, we can do the same with GPS.
Speaking of embracing change and evolving with technology, has anyone noticed all the news talk about the big companies planning to no longer make music CDs and rely on electronic distributon instead? Things do evolve, even if we sometimes think we aren’t quite ready for it.
7 December 2011
I was in Madison today for a bill signing ceremony with the Governor. The bill is the result of some work I have been a significant part of over the past few years to get off-highway motorcycles represented on the State Trails Council. Although I have been serving in that role already, the legislation was required to allow me to be a full voting member. Things don’t move quickly, and it has taken a lot of effort by a lot of people to get to where we are today, but it is all progress in moving us forward.
I also met with a contractor from out of state today to do some preliminary work to put on a trail school for some motorized people in Wisconsin. It is important that we train and “qualify” some people in laying out, constructing, and maintaining sustainable trails. Once the OHM legislation we are working on is in place, we will be able to move forward with some initiatives to build single track motorcycle trails on public lands. We need to be credible as we approach land managers about these projects so that they can be confident that we can do the job properly.
I completed this four day course myself in the past and it is important and valuable training.
6 Apr 2012
There is an advisory quesiton to be voted on during Monday night’s (April 9) DNR Spring Hearing and Conservation Congress County Meetings that is important to us.
The list of meeting locations is here: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/nrboard/congress/spring_hearings/2012/2012%20locat…
The question is advisory only. That is, it is a feeler about whether or not legislation should be sought to create a 25 mph speed limit for licensed vehicles on frozen waters.
We are addressing ice riding by off-highway motorcycles in the proposed OHM statute.
This advisory question deals with a statewide standard for licensed motor vehicles and has the potential to restrict motorcycle ice riding.
The issue is http://dnr.wi.gov/org/nrboard/congress/spring_hearings/2012/2012%20Sprin….
(Voting results will be posted on the web on the April 11.)
QUESTION 65. Create a maximum of 25 mph on Frozen Water (# 180311) (requires legislation)
Winter outdoor recreation activities are increasing in popularity and there are a growing number of users on the frozen waters of the state. Anglers, snowmobilers, ATVers, cross-country skiers, ice skaters, and Wisconsinites of all ages are often found simultaneously enjoying the frozen waters of the state. Cars, trucks, snowmobiles, and ATV’s driving and riding on the frozen surface, can create safety hazards and issues for other users. Sometimes these vehicles are moving at high speeds and within close proximity to persons, other vehicles, or structures. Vehicles moving at high speeds also contribute to some degree to the deterioration of ice conditions due to the energy wave created under the surface of the ice. ATV’s and snowmobiles are currently required to slow to 10 mph on the ice when within 100 feet of a person not on a motorized vehicle or within 100 feet of an ice shanty. Speed limits for licensed motor vehicles (cars, trucks, etc) on the frozen waters of the state are not regulated on a statewide basis by state law and only some municipalities have local regulations. This proposal would create consistent regulations for all licensed motorized vehicles (cars, trucks, etc) on the frozen waters of the state.
65. Would you support legislation creating a maximum speed limit of 25 mph for all licensed motorized vehicles (cars, trucks, etc) travelling on frozen waters of the state unless on a designated state or club marked trail?
65. YES _____ NO ______
The voting is in person at the meeting to keep things clean county by county.
Not a lot of time is spent on discussion.
This proposal is someone’s good idea that made its way to the hearings to see if it has any serious support: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/nrboard/congress/documents/how%20to%20write%20a%20….
If it gets serious support at the hearings and is referred for legislation, the fight will be in the legislative process. The legislative process is where we try to ensure that our interests are protected acting as organizations and individuals making phone calls, visits to legislators, and writing letters.
For now, it is good if people show up at the Monday night meeting in their county and vote against this proposal.
The Wisconsin Conservation Congress does NOT accept written comments on its advisory questions. Only the tallies of the public votes received the night of the county meetings are taken into consideration when developing final recommendations.
11 April 2012
State Trails Council Meeting today. (11 April 2012)
The following are items of interest to our user group.
Most people will want to know the progress of the Motorized Recreation Area that the DNR is trying to get established in southwest Wisconsin.
They got pretty far into the process, but for now they have not been able to strike a deal (yet, anyway). The negotiations are confidential so we don’t know the details, but we do know that the project they have been working on is on hold.
The Governor and the DNR are both enthusiastic about establishing a motorized recreation area in the southern part of Wisconsin where demand is the greatest. The Governor has been specific in emphasizing that point.
The DNR envisions a regional facility that will take in riders from surrounding states as well. Everyone is sure that the park will be a huge success. The issue now is getting a deal worked out for land.
There is some strong interest in trying to locate a park between Milwaukee and Madison. This would certainly hit the spot with the DNR’s priority of trying to bring the facility to where the users live.
Clubs need to start looking at some potential local trail projects. This may involve trying to get some trails built in county forests. This time next year the DNR will be accepting grant applications (again) to get some more trail work done. Not sure what will become of Recreational Trails Program money in the future so we need to at least get something done next year if we can.
As a side note, it looks like we will be able to introduce the OHM legislation in January so sometime next year we will be able to generate funds for motorcycle trails.
We need to get in on the master plan for land that is becoming available at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant. About 1845 acres (maybe more) of the 7345 acres available will go to the DNR. This land has no traditional uses so we stand a very good chance of working single track motorcycles into the plan for part of the land. I will check out what we need to do to get our desires into the plan. I will also coordinate with WOHMA and perhaps the Madison Motorcycle Club to try to get some local sponsorship and some organized groups in on working the OHM issue at the old Badger site. I’ll work this with this with those organizations and will share information here as well.
As I mentioned, we now have dual sport motorcycle access to the Wolf River and Nicolet State Trails IN FOREST COUNTY. There is an issue afoot about keeping motorized off of the Wolf River State Trail (for the portion along the Wolf River) in Langlade County. We’ll see how this develops. Right now it looks non-motorized.
The Department of Tourism spoke about what they have to offer as far as promoting some recreational interests. Alex Bub spoke with them about adding motorcycle trails to the ATV trail booklet when they reprint it. This has great potential once we get some things squared away about where we will have access to ATV trails (post OHM legislation) and as we get more OHM trails. No matter when the booklet is republished, we can offer what we have in place at that time. Trail access is going to be in transition for a couple of years as we work through access issues on the county level once legislation is in place. We may lose some and we may gain some as far as ATV trails being open to OHM/DS goes. Hopefully we will gain in the long run.
Alex Bub reported that a portion of the Knobby Ridge MC Trail may reopen in June. Watch the web site for details as things develop.
We really need to get going on trying to find places to develop motorcycle trails in areas that will serve our interests. It takes a long time to get a project to move, so we need to seriously work on this now. Local clubs and individuals are the key to getting something done in a local area. It needs to start there. “Outsiders” can help with getting it done, but we will do the best if local people are seeking projects in their home area.
Along with that, if anyone has any serious leads on potential land for a motorized recreation area in the southern part of Wisconsin, let me know. Sometimes this is how the DNR gets onto a potential site. I will be happy to advance anything that has potential.
Tom Chase contacted me about an initiative they were working on with an event in the UP. He thought it might be a good idea to include ATV riders in an event like the one sponsored by the Wisconservation Trail Riders (single track/dual sport, and now maybe ATVs). I think it is a great idea. I spoke with Randy Harden of the Wisconsin ATV Association about this initiative and suggested that we talk about doing something along this line in the future. We need to start working together with ATV folks so we develop more understanding and respect about each other’s recreational interests. I have said many times that people need to stop taking shots at other motorized user groups. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder to deal with people who are down on motorized users in general. Sharing some event time, even if we are on separate rides, is a good way to foster a good relationship. Keep in mind that the ATV user group has us outgunned as far as membership, money, political influence, and existing trails. Might be a good idea for motorized users groups to compliment each other.
Sauk Prairie Master Plan Development
(old Badger Army Ammunition Plant)
The DNR is in the early stages of the master planning process for the DNR lands at the Badger Ammo Plant site.
Right now there are no open houses scheduled. The DNR thinks they may have some draft documents to bring to public comment in the June/July time frame. There will be several points during the process that the DNR will be asking for public comment.
I talked to the person working this issue to make it known that we want to develop single track motorcycle trails as part of this property. I generally described what this trail would involve. I also pointed out that we are lacking in this recreational opportunity and that adding this to Sauk Prairie would align with the DNR’s aim to bring the opportunities to where the users are when possible to do so.
For the short term, I will ask several of the clubs to send a letter expressing their strong desire to develop single track motorcycle trail at the site. I’ll post more information here as things develop.
17 Jul 12
Took a tour of the State trails in Forest County that the county opened to dual sports (Wolf River and Nicolet State Trails in Forest County). Had a nice ride. I’ll send a letter to the county board thanking them for opening the trails to us and commenting on what a nice ride it was.
Ran into the president of the local ATV club (also a board member) and chatted with him for a half-hour or so. He said he was initially against our having access but now is pretty happy with it – sees no problems.
Ran into some disturbing signs that restrict motorcycle access.
The first was at the county line. Someone from a local club put this sign up in the national forest. It effectively restricted us from using forest roads open to us and interrupted some of my tracks in the area. The sign needed to be moved out of the forest to an area where the county portion of the Nicolet State Trail begins. I contacted the USFS and asked them to take care of this. They are having the sign moved right away.
I also found some signs like these on ATV trails (trail open to motorized 50″ or less) that effectively eliminate motorcycles from the trails to other than the most informed user. I contacted the forest service and said that these were contrary to the Motor Vehicle Use Maps and that they improperly restricted motorcycles from places they were entitled to go. These also appeared on some of my tracks.
The USFS rep answered that they had a long discussion about whether to include the motorcycle sticker on the sign. He said that since the 2004 Land and Resource Management Plan considers ATVs and OHM to be the same, there was no need for a motorcycle sticker on the sign. I answered that this was not satisfactory in that most riders are not experts on the 2004 LRMP or even the MVUM and that posting a sign with an ATV and a snowmobile that says ALL OTHER motorized vehicles are excluded is not proper. Further, since the USFS already posts MC and ATV stickers in other places already, eliminating the MC sticker causes a problem. I also pointed out that we needed the MC sticker to avoid conflicts with some ATV users that may not understand that motorcycles ARE allowed. Case in point is the sign the ATV club put up in the forest restricting motorcycles.
I am waiting to hear from the USFS to get a final answer on whether they will add the MC sticker to the signs. I told them that in the mean time I would put the word out that we are included under the ATV sticker even though a MC sticker does not appear on the sign.
17 Jul 12
Sauk Prairie Recreation Area
Earlier I mentioned that the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant near Baraboo was going to become a State property (in part anyway) called the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area.
Since there were no historic uses of this property, I noted that we needed to move on this to try to get some single track motorcycle trails on the property. This would bring this scarce recreational opportunity closer to the large number of users in the southern part of the state who are currently underserved.
I contacted the Sauk Prairie and noted out interest by phone and by letter. I also solicited some of the clubs to send in comments expressing our desire to get some OHM trail there.
I just was notified that the planning process for the property is starting to take off.
There will be a public hearing in Baraboo that we need to get some people to attend and offer their comments for the record.
July 30th, 2012
Lange Student Center on the UW-Baraboo/Sauk County campus
People that can’t attend the meeting should send a letter or an e-mail pointing out that we truly need OHM trails in this region and that our user group is very underserved.
Please send all comments prior to Friday, August 17th, 2012 to:
DNR Planner – LF/6 PO Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921
If you read the describing the property and the goals for managing the property you will likely be amazed at how an industrial ammunition plant has suddenly been “transformed” into something that does not favor motorized recreation. Amazing. http://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/lf/LF0063.pdfdocument
My impression is that it does not look good for our interests right now. This is not to say that we won’t prevail somehow in the end. No matter what, we need to aggressively go after our interests on this property. If for no other reason than we can keep visible pressure on the DNR to come up with a motorized recreation area in the underserved southern part of the state.
One thing that goes against us is that planner often rely on a study of recreational interests and opportunities in the state called SCORP. I always object to relying on this study too heavily because it does not show emerging or declining activities well, and it does not accurately account for the unmet demand for an activity like off-highway motorcycling. If you have hardly any trails, you will not show a lot of trail riding as an activity in a routine survey that asks what you participated in over the past twelve months. If we had more trails, we would have more participants as is evidenced by a neighboring state like Michigan.
I’ll do a little more study on this and put out more information in time for people to the hearing and the deadline for comments.
I am working with some contacts to give a comprehensive scrub to the Off-Highway Motorcycle Bill we want to introduce in January. Basiclly this bill allows us to put together a sticker program to raise funds to build and sustain trails. It also has components for safety education (something required for public lands), OHM routes on some roads, registration for OHM that don’t otherwise have titles, and basic OHM regulations. This will create a program similar to that of the ATV community.
We have also been working to make some repairs to a single track motorcycle trail in Clark County to make it more sustainable. The scope of the work exceeded what the local club could handle by themselves, so enthusiasts from across the state got together to a major work weekend to knock off some of the big jobs. We expect to have some more more weekends in the future until the job is done.
I have also been elected to Vice-Chair of the State Trails Council.
Recreational Trails Aids (RTA) Program
The RTA program involves federal money administered by states including Wisconsin.
Municipal governments and incorporated organizations can receive reimbursement for developing and maintaining recreational trails and trail related facilities including motorized trails.
Reimbursement is for up to 50% of eligible project costs.
Funds from this program can be used in conjunction with other sources of funding like the upcoming OHM sticker program or grants from other programs.
Eligible projects include:
-Maintenance or restoration of existing trails.
-Development or rehabilitation of trailside or trailhead facilities and trail linkages.
-Construction of new trails.
-Property acquisition for trails.
The deadline for submitting an application under this program is typically May 1st of each year. Once applications are received they are reviewed and prioritized for approval.
The Town of Oconomowoc passed an ordinance last spring that effectively shut down motorcycle ice riding on two small lakes in the township. A local business owner was able to get the board to put the issue on the agenda to reconsider the ordinance. About 25 people showed up at the town board meeting in support of ice riding in the township. Most were township residents. About a half dozen of us spoke on the issue with one resident speaking against. The town board agreed to amend the ordinance to accommodate ice riding with proper regulation. So that we would not lose any ice time this season, the board said that effective immediately ice riding would be permitted on Saturdays and Sundays from 1000-1500.
Followed up with the Sauk Prairie Recreation folks. They are still working on building their proposals for the property. Right now, motorized recreation is included. We are waiting for coordination to be completed within the DNR and with other partners so we can get a look at the proposals for public comment.
Served as part of a work group going over a proposed general permit for wetland issues as related to recreational trails.
The good news is that the DNR is putting together a general permit that allows people to follow a procedure to get authorization to build some wetland crossings like we would use for motorcycle trails. It is much less complicated that going through an individual permit application (which could still be required depending on the circumstances).
The purpose of this meeting was to debug the drafts. Between the US Army Corps of Engineers and the DNR there were some disconnects that needed to be ironed out as well. The Corps has jurisdiction on some of this. Even among the varying DNR elements there can be some confusion. It can be a complex issue.
The bad news is that even though we are streamlining the wetland permit for recreational trails, there are other water issues that remain unchanged. These include waterways, storm water, shoreland, and flood plain issues.
The DNR will have a public comment period on this in May once today’s documents are refined and made available. The problem with commenting is that there is a lot to this. Essentially one has to know much more than what is included in the basic information to be able to understand the ins and outs.
So to summarize for our user group, it will be easier for us to make some wetland crossings with our trails under most circumstances
Some years ago I took some trail patrol training. Since that time, the program has been revamped and has new screening requirements. I just went through a class to recertify.This started out as an ATV initiative to add a “self-policing” component to managing trails. This makes the prospect of having trails more attractive to counties since they know the users will be contributing to keeping things on track.I think we need to get some people from our user group involved in this – especially since we share some trails with ATVs already. One of the requirements is to document hours and miles spent on trail patrol. There is an amazing cadre of volunteers racking up some significant miles (close to 70K in WI last year).This is not an enforcement program but is a peer advisory program with an ambassador component to it. Much of it involves riding the trails as you normally would while keeping an eye on things, having fun, and reporting and documenting what you did.Shoot me a PM if you might be interested in taking the training and participating in the program. In the past, one had to be a certified safety instructor to participate as a trail patrol ambassador. Now there is a category for those that are not instructors. You will have to complete an on-line safety course though.
Just a little information on a struggle we will face once the OHM legislation is introduced.
Madison – New projections show Wisconsin’s transportation fund is spiraling toward a $63.5 million deficit by mid-2015, leaving lawmakers groping for how to pay for building and repairing roads across the state over the next two years. http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/state-transportation-fund-hea…
The transportation fund consists mostly of gas tax revenue and vehicle registration fees. It covers highway improvements and maintenance, as well as aid to local governments for road work and funds the Division of Motor Vehicles and the State Patrol. Over the past few years, legislators have grown more worried about the fund’s solvency as people consume less fuel, resulting in less tax revenue.
An important part of funding for our program is getting gas tax money that would otherwise go to the transportation fund. The way this works is we are seeking a credit for fuel we buy that is not used on highways. Since we are not on highways, the tax money for that purpose should be given to us to pay for trails. This is calculated using a formula of so many gallons of fuel per OHM registered vehicle per year. We are asking for 50 gallons. Snowmobiles get 50 right now. ATVs get 25 and are trying to get 50.
This can be a significant amount of money. For ATVs it is about half of their total amount available (the other half is registrations).
By the way, once you get more and more trails the registrations and gas money go flat so it becomes difficult to sustain what you already built meaning that you are unable to build much new stuff. If you can’t keep up sustainment costs, things get pro-rated downward and the trail system begins to deteriorate.
We can anticipate a difficult battle trying to get a decent OHM payment on gas tax money in the current environment. There are serious issues with trying to pay for the highway network.
Just trying to keep some issues visible as related news stories appear. 😀
I’ll have more on this once I sort my notes from a meeting at the Capitol today. For now . . .
Conservationists who want land near Baraboo to be used for quiet activities are angry that the state might use it for motorcycle trails or shooting ranges. http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/conservationists-dnr-spar-over-us…
The DNR will issue three alternatives this summer and hold open houses and public hearings to gather comment on the plans, he said. The three scenarios range from a plan focused on conservation and quiet activity to one that emphasizes more high-intensity recreation.
“This isn’t a vote process,” Aquino said. “The public input is only one part of what we consider.”
Another point to consider is which recreational opportunities are underrepresented, he said.
Some people have a vision to turn this into a quiet area that serves their narrow band of interests. Some others have a vision to use the large chunk of land that is proximate to a large population base to in part adddress a bunch of underserved recreational interests.
When the proposal come out, the public comment period is going to be a real battle. We need to be involved on a large scale to keep our interests alive.
I’ve got another initiative started that could give us some more riding opportunities. I brought this up in the past, but this time it seems like I’ve got more traction with officials and equestrians.
The Golden Eagles MC Club in MN have an arrangement to run two events per year on horse trails on DNR property. This has been going on for some time and seems to benefit all involved.
I am now pursuing something similar with the DNR and the equestrian folks in Wisconsin.
The idea is to identify several equestrian trails that would be suitable for a weekend motorcycle event and work through the process to get us access to those trails as an exception to their current intended use.
The general idea is to set-up at a campground (perhaps an equestrian campground) and have loosely organized trail riding over a weekend.
I anticipate that we will need to demonstrate success through a trial event at some location. After that it might be possible to hold several events at varying locations giving us multiple riding opportunities that we wouldn’t otherwise have. This is not a big inconvenience for the horse riders as under that scenario we would only have a particular trail system one weekend in a season.
I have a study that compares OHM and horse impact on trails and they are nearly identical – at least on the short term. There is some difference between the two depending on whether you are riding uphill or down, but overall it is kind of a wash.
I anticipate that a non-profit MC club would be the host for a weekend event and handle the paperwork once we get the green light. It is pretty easy to set up a non-profit club. In fact, a club might come into being just to handle two horse trail events per year in their region. The club need only be a few members. I will explore whether this can be done without a club doing a permit.
This will take a bit of time to work out. When I come up with some sites that might be suitable I’ll post more. Suitable includes something that we would [I]want[/I] to ride.
I can think of several important barriers to this but I believe they can be overcome.
Oh, rule changes in the DNR take up to about three years now. Hopefully we can work our way through a much quicker temporary solution.
Stand by over time for updates. I’m on it.
Made a presentation to the USFS, some county people, and some area ATV people up in Eagle River today. Mostly it was about what we do with adventure and dual sport motorcycles in north central Wisconsin. I explained how we develop, record, and share riding paths along with the issues associated with the process. The idea was to establish some supportive relationships with certain people and groups in that area. Worked out very well. We improved our posture as off-highway motorcyclists with all involved. This is one of those building blocks I sometimes refer to that will eventually serve us well as we get further down the road. It also helps to head off any issues with the unusual density of riding during the central rally.
Edit: For those that don’t know, some people in Vilas County are adamantly opposed to ATVs. I thought I should mention this as it sheds more light on the significance of this initiative.
Had an appointment with Tourism Wisconsin today. Got some things done for us.
Off-Highway, adventure, and dual sport motorcycling will be included in the next Wisconsin Activity Guide booklet. We’ve been pretty invisible in the past.
Our motorcycle events will be included in the Tourism Wisconsin database. This means people can search for them via keyword, location, date, etc. I’m working on the details on how we will achieve that.
I’ll be working with their writer and web person to get an article up about OHM/DS/ADV in Wisconsin with some photos.
I am thinking we can feature some of our adventure routes so people can load up and ride.
Also talked about the potential for grants to promote some things. Most of what we do is typically outside the criteria, but I’m examining the potential for something bigger.
I went over to the Wisconsin Outdoor Education Expo at the Dodge County Fairgrounds near Beaver Dam yesterday. This event has been running for a number of years now and is doing well. http://www.wisexpo.com/
The purpose of the event is to provide a “see-touch-do” experience for school kids to introduce them to outdoor recreation. A study has shown that if kids aren’t introduced to these activities by the time they are twelve, they are far less likely to take them up later in life.
I wanted to talk to the head honcho and evaluate whether this would be a good event for off-highway motorcycling to participate in. I met with the head guy and toured the event. About 1,500 school kids are bussed in each of the two days. They come from as far away as Wausau. With sponsors and chaperones the total exposure is to about 3,000 kids and 600 adults.
Snowmobiles and ATVs are currently represented from motorized recreation. Beyond that they have a wide variety of activities going include flushing birds with dogs, shooting BB guns, casting flies, cleaning fish, skinning muskrats, etc.
Since most DS/OHM clubs are non-profits and as such they likely have in their mission statement that they are there to promote the sport, this may be a good opportunity for some to do so. Not only is it good to introduce the recreational interest to children, but the exposure to adults goes to our benefit as well.
It might be good to partner with the other motorized people to share an area. The cost of an exhibit would probably be around $400-$500. Sharing this between a couple of clubs minimizes the expense.
Potentially we could have a variety of types and sizes of motorcycles on display (child OHM, OHM, DS, ADV packed for a trip). Perhaps we could get a trials rider or two to offer minor exhibitions during the event.
I think this event is worth participating in to promote our recreational interest. I put together some more info and share it with the clubs to see if a couple might participate.
I mentioned that I was working on the prospect of getting access to horse trails for a weekend OHM event here in Wisconsin.
Toward that end, I have been interviewing key club members and DNR officials from other places to get the ins and outs of this type of thing.
One of the events I have been interviewing people about is the Thielman Trail Ride the Golden Eagles put on over at Zumbro Bottoms in MN.
To follow up on the interviews I went up there Saturday to spend a few hours talking to more people and taking some pictures to capture some visual information about the event. Lots of positive information from both the DNR and the club (not to mention the riders).
I was also able to capture a ton of pix that help show that OHM riding is a family event and that it involves men and women of a wide range of ages. Good material that I will be able to put to use in several places. Often a picture says more than you or I can.
Couple of minor shots . . .
Wisconsin receives national awards for recreational and trail planning.
MADISON — Wisconsin recently received two national awards recognizing recreational planning and trails efforts.
The National Park Service and the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals presented the Wisconsin the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan Excellence Award on May 23 at the 2013 National Outdoor Recreation Conference in Traverse City, Mich.
The National Association of State Park Directors selected Wisconsin State Trails Council as the winner of the Coalition for Recreational Trails’ Achievement Award for outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program funds by a state recreational trails advisory committee. The award was presented June 4 at the 2013 Recreational Trails Program Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund Act requires states to evaluate the demand for and supply of outdoor recreation resources and to develop an implementation program to produce a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, or SCORP, every five years. The Wisconsin SCORP is compiled by the Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Parks and Recreation.
The National Park Service and the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals created the annual SCORP Excellence Award to recognize a state SCORP process and product that exemplifies the spirit and intent of by planning for outdoor recreation places and opportunities to strengthen the health and vitality of citizens.
The Wisconsin SCORP highlights the growing demand for urban community gardens, the connection of urban recreational opportunities for a healthy population and outdoor recreational preferences and trends. It was developed with the assistance and support of a diverse array of outdoor recreation stakeholders representing local, state, and federal agencies; non-profit groups; outdoor industry groups; and other organizations directly linked to outdoor recreation. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/planning/scorp/
“This award exemplifies the strong Wisconsin tradition of providing access to the many types of outdoor recreation choices” says DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp.
The Wisconsin State Trails Council is made up of 11 voting members appointed by the governor to four-year terms who are knowledgeable in various recreational uses of trails and serve as an advocate for trails. The council is responsible for providing counsel in administering Federal Recreational Trails Program funds. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/stc/index.html
Among the achievements recognized in the award is that the council recently established a maximum grant amount for the state’s Recreational Trails Program funding awards that has enabled smaller trail groups or projects to participate in the grant program. This enabled the apportioning of the available funding to be spread throughout the state. In 2012 the number of local grants awarded increased from eight in the previous grant cycle to 75.
“The Wisconsin State Trails Council is comprised of highly passionate representatives of the state’s diverse recreational trail user groups,” Stepp said. “Council members are deeply active in their respective associations, and bring an intimate knowledge of the individual, and often quite localized, issues facing their respective member groups and communities.”
When I brought up this issue the first time, it dead ended.
The USFS has signs that restrict motorcycles from some ATV trails in the forest. Those in the know understand that the ATV trails are for motorized 50″ of less. Someone on the trail (including ATV riders) might mistakenly be misled because these signs say all but ATVs and snowmobiles are prohibited.
This time the forest superintendent said he would get motorcycle stickers for the signs to straighten things out. Looks like it will be up to us to locate all the offending signs and put the stickers up ourselves. No problem – I’m retired.
I also got the opportunity to explain the motorcycle and ATV trail NF rules to some area ATV club officers as a few were not quite clear on it.
So, for the Lakewood district (same district as Wabeno dual sport events), things are getting better for us.
There is an area near the old Northridge Mall (Milwaukee area) where people have been riding dirt bikes and ATVs for many, many years. I think it is county land. From time to time the wardens get calls to go out there to check on people riding illegally. The site seems to have a well developed trail system from years of use.
The wardens got in touch with the ATV association to see what interest there might be in developing the area as an official riding area. Long story short is that the DNR and some others are looking at the area to see what might be done. This is in the very preliminary stages and might never come about, but wouldn’t it be great to have some designated riding space in the Milwaukee area?
Looking at the aerial imagery for the site, you can see a nice oval track is in place. The trails that run close to the Menominee River would have to be closed to establish proper standoff distance to meet water regulations.
Something to think about.
I had another meeting at the Capitol to square away our proposed off-highway motorcycle legislation. Now that the budget is passed we are back in the work cycle again.
It looks like we are nearly at the end. The next revision should be it.
I will prepare a summary of some key features of the bill as we get closer to the end so that people can understand the major provisions without trying to sort bunch of legalese across several statutes.
Our bill will be introduced with two other motorized bills (ATV, 4WD). We are not connected to those bills though.
What a long journey this has been. 😀
You guys have heard me mentioned Recreational Trails Program money in the past. This is important to us because it allows us to get matching grants to get some projects done. It is significant coin here in WI. The money comes from taxes we are charged on fuel we use for off-road purposes.
Someone just introduced an amendment to a bill that would kill off this program.
We can’t live with that.
Please send a message to your Senators asking them to oppose amendment No. 1742 to S. 1243.
It only takes a moment to do so. Just search for the Senators for your state and submit an e-mail or comment.
I’ve been going over the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area materials for this iteration of a comment period. The period runs from 15 July – 30 August.
During the initial comment period, motorized recreation made a significant showing in expressing a need for motorized recreation opportunities in this underserved part of the state – particularly single track motorcycle trail.
This significant expression may have surprised some people that might not be fond of the idea of motorized recreation at the site.
I heard from a group that has been very involved with this project over the years and has a strong and narrow vision of how the property should be developed. Their vision does not include motorized trails.
The DNR is taking an extra step by providing this additional comment period before presenting a draft master plan. They say they want to be sure that all stakeholders have a chance to be heard from. Could be that this is being done because this is a contentious issue with some groups.
You can bet that during this comment period those that are against motorized recreation on this property will be a significant voice.
We need to make a strong showing again (maybe even stronger) this time around to advocate for OHM trails.
I will put together some notes for people to consider in formulating their input to the DNR on this topic. The message will be the same, but I’ll tailor some of the talking points to follow the format of the on-line survey the DNR is using. I’ll attend the in-person meeting and afterward put together some material for you to reference in making your comments.
Expect to see that later this week. The comment period ends August 30th.
Public comment meeting on Sauk Prairie this evening. A lot of people were there. Most seemed to be against the option that includes motorized recreation at the site.
The DNR pointed out that this is an opportunity to address some recreational interests that are underserved in the region (our contention).
So far 315 people have already responded to the survey. Last time, when we made a substantial showing, about 400 turned in comments. You can bet there are a greater proportion of low-impact respondents than motorized this time around so we have to make a strong effort to get our comments in this time.
Basically there are three options. One is to do nothing (mandatory alternative). Another is emphasis on ecological restoration with limited low-impact uses. The third is an emphasis on outdoor recreation that includes motorized use.
The DNR feels like they are not filling the needs that are out there (like ours) so the recreation emphasis would scratch that itch a little.
There will be another on site self-guided tour of the property on 24 August.
The proposed motorized area includes an adjacent shooting range. We would be segregated from the rest of the property by a separate entrance. Our part of the program, including the range, would be about 562 acres.
The decision of whether the Ho-Chunk will take their slice of the property should be made in September. If they don’t take it, more for the DNR.
Lots of DNR cops there.
The firing range issue is tied to motorized . . . that is we are in it together. People have opposition to one or the other or both. Both are in the alternative that allows motorized recreation.
I will put out some guidance on things to cover in formulating a response. If you are a shooter, you will probably want to give strong support to the range too. It is best for both proposals to win to carry us.
After this comment window closed 30 August, the DNR will go to work on a draft master plan and environmental assessment for the preferred alternative. In the Spring of 2014, we will get a whack at that. In the summer of 2014 it goes to the Natural Resources board.
I’ll get the info out for formulating comments within the next few days.
I did an interview with Channel 27 (Madison) in favor of motorized as part of their coverage of the meeting.
Area they are looking at for motorized trails. 500+ acres. Segregates us from some other users. Firing range to the east of us.
We have until August 30th to get our comments in regarding proposals for the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area.
Last time we did a great job making our interests for motorized recreation known – especially the need for single track motorcycle trails.
Last time there were about 400 comments overall and we made up a good percentage of those. At the time of the public meeting on 31 July, 315 had already offered comments about the proposals. You can bet that this time around there will be many more comments that are not in favor of motorized recreation at the site. There are some organized efforts to promote options that do not allow for motorized recreation.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE GET COMMENTS SUBMITTED THAT ARE IN FAVOR OF THE OUTDOOR RECREATION EMPHASIS PROPOSAL THAT INCLUDES MOTORIZED RECREATION.
Get word out to other riders and clubs and make sure that people act right away.
These things are often confusing so I have sorted through the issues to help people understand things a little better. Some of my comments are in previous posts.
This time comments are being taken via an on-line survey. http://5.selectsurvey.net/DNR/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=885K7o4 The survey itself can be confusing to some as they spend a lot of time talking about vision statements and only a little time concentrating on the three options.
To help sort through this, I am offering some sample comments as they relate to each section of the survey. Please don’t use the same words, but try to cover the same points in your own words.
The notes are organized to align with the questionnaire.
Comments to consider for the on-line questionaire.
Page 1 of 4 asks for your zip code. It is a good idea to comment later in the survey that despite the distance from your home, you would be willing to travel to Sauk Prairie to enjoy motorized recreation (and to use the firing range
Page 2 (Vision)
It would be useful to comment that this large tract of land is proximate to a large number of Wisconsin residents whose recreational interests are underserved in the region. The vision statement should include a statement that recognizes this as an opportunity to bring underserved recreational interests into more reasonable balance while providing opportunities that are within reasonable reach of where people live.
Page 3 (Ecological Management)
Ecological management is important but in this case it should not eliminate opportunities for outdoor recreation. It must be clear that recreation and ecological management do not exclude each other.
Page 3 (Recreation)
It must be clearly stated that recreation takes priority here. There are recreational interests that have not been adequately addressed in the region. Converting this large former industrial site to public land provides an important opportunity to address some of those shortfalls. There is already a large existing tract of parkland in place in this area. The priority here needs to be to address other recreational interests that include motorized recreation and a firearms range.
Page 3 (Cultural Resource Preservation)
Significant sites should be identified and preserved, but not to the extent that it unreasonably restricts recreational use of the land. The priority should be to maximize recreational use of the site while preserving significant cultural features.
Page 3 (Education and Interpretation)
As in cultural resource preservation, education and interpretive opportunities should be addressed without unreasonably restricting recreational use of the land.
Page 4 (Draft Conceptual Alternatives)
No Action Alternative
I do not like this alternative. It wastes a public resource that could otherwise be developed to provide recreation opportunities for a large number of residents that are proximate to this site. The property needs to be developed to maximize recreational opportunities.
Ecological Restoration Emphasis
The site had limited vehicle access and perceived remoteness when it was an industrial site. This is largely because the public was denied use of the land. Now that we can change that, we need to make use of this property by addressing shortfalls in recreation opportunities for a large number of people that live within range of the property. We already have adjoining land that offers traits of what is proposed under this option. Tieing up this property under this option would severely limit the number of residents that would benefit from the resource. We need to maximize the recreational opportunities at the site, not unreasonably limit how it can be used.
Outdoor Recreation Emphasis
This proposal offers the best balance of uses for the property and maximizes the benefit of the property for the most users. The site has the potential to serve a large number of Wisconsin residents because of its proximity to population areas. It also has sufficient space to be able to accommodate some regionally underserved recreational interests like motorized recreation and target shooting. The size and layout of the property would allow a variety of recreational interests to be enjoyed without interference. This option also allows for many of the important features of the other options to be part of the program. The other two options are too restrictive. This option best addresses everyone’s interests. I am willing to travel a long distance to be able to participate in motorized recreation and target shooting at this site – especially since these interests are largely underserved in this part of the state.
Thank you for making our interests known. If we prevail we will have a nice riding opportunity that will serve a lot of people – especially since there are so few other options.
Thanks all for posting. Visited a trail expo yesterday. Spent some time with our OHM bill sponsor from the legislature. Did some networking on issues of interest to us. Working on getting a short TV segment on off-highway motorcycling on an outdoor show.
FITCHBURG, Wis. – The public is invited to take a self-guided automobile tour of the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant this Saturday, Aug. 24. The property will open starting at 9 a.m., and the gates will close at 3 p.m. The property entrance is located seven miles north of Sauk City on State Highway 12.
Tour maps are available on the Department of Natural Resources website – dnr.wi.gov – by searching for “Sauk Prairie Recreation Area.” Tour maps will also be available the day of the tour at the starting point.
A similar tour was offered in October 2012 and proved to be very popular with more than 1,100 vehicles passing through the gates. At the time, DNR received many contacts from persons who were interested but couldn’t make the October 2012 event. Many more inquiries came in after the event from people who had been told about the tour by friends and were wondering if a second tour could be scheduled.
Master Planning Update
DNR is currently working on developing a master plan for the former Badger plant which is now designated as the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area.
All DNR properties are operated according to master plans that describe the facilities, activities, operations and resource management guidelines for a property for a period of 15 years.
On July 31, DNR planners and managers hosted a public open house in Prairie du Sac to present preliminary vision and goal statements and draft conceptual alternatives. DNR is now is asking for public comment on these documents. The comment period is open through Aug. 30. Documents are available for review under the “planning documents” tab on the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area webpage. A public comment form also is on the webpage and can be either downloaded and mailed or submitted online.
The public will have more opportunities to provide comment as the master planning process moves along. Over 260 individuals attended the July 31 open house.
“We encourage people to view the posted preliminary vision and goal statements and the draft conceptual alternatives,” said Ryder Will. Will currently is the maintenance and satellite properties supervisor for Devil’s Lake State Park. He will be the SPRA property manager when the gates are fully open.
“While this is a property tour and is not intended to be a part of the master planning process, we hope opening the property for a day provides people a chance to better visualize the future of the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area as they prepare any comments they’d like to share with us.”
I’m going over what I hope is the last draft of the OHM legislation. I just put it out to some other people to read over. There are still a couple of things that need to be fixed but they are minor. They heavy lifting is done. It feels good to be so close to getting the bill introduced.
Once we have a complete document that is ready for prime time I will get it posted for people to peruse. Frankly, it is not something easily read or understood as it involves a lot of cross references and legalese.
It will be better if I put out a summary of what the key provisions of the bill are. I will do so once I get this latest revision back through the legislative reference bureau.
Alex Bub and I attended a meeting today about an initiative to establish an off-road vehicle park in Forest County. This has been worked for some time now. It is a big undertaking even to study. A central focus is the economic development of the area. The group working this initiative commissioned some studies regarding the potential economic impact of the project and have been looking at what it might take to develop and operate such a facility. There are several important phases that must be successful for the project to come to fruition and it will take quite a while to get through them. One key aspect is that there will be a heavy reliance on volunteer labor to establish the trails for this facility. Potential daily user fees have not been addressed yet.
It is not known (yet) whether this would be a private or government sponsored facility. The DNR is interested in putting an ORV park in the underserved southern part of the state. WORPVI wants to develop something in Forest County.
Projects like this take a lot of time to develop.
In the mean time, the Crandon Raceway is interested in adding some ORV facilities to their truck raceway park. This has the potential to happen quickly as they have the land and supporting infrastructure. Not sure if/when they will proceed.
A local tribe is also kicking around the idea of opening an ORV park on some land that they have available in the area.
A lot of activity for a very small area in far northeast Wisconsin.
USFS just contacted me that the OHM motorcycle stickers that they ordered came in so we can fix a problem with signage on some trails.
You may recall I went up there and raised the issue with them that the signs were unfairly excluded OHM from places they were entitled to go.
I plan to go up and install these stickers in early October. Someone may want to ride along. I’ve got to figure out all the places that need to be covered between now and then. This is in the Lakewood-Laona district around Wabeno.
Recently attended another meeting to work our interests.
The WI DOT is developing a policy about accommodating ATVs on rights-of-way. Not sure what the outcome will be, but it has to be better than the status quo. I’m thinking it will not be a widespread change, but it should allow us to deal with pinch points where the only path might be a state highway right-of-way.
In the last draft of the OHM law, I changed the language proposed by the legislative reference bureau to allow for that in the event things ever changed with the DOT. Looks like it could work out.
We also talked about invasive species a bit. I think I mentioned before that invasives are an issue for all types of recreation, not just motorized. It is important that we not transfer seeds and soil containing seeds from area to area with out bikes. Best to give them (and boots) a wash before relocating. Right now this is a volunteer effort to get people like us to be more aware and take more preventive steps. If people blow this off, problems can develop until there are restrictions that we won’t want written as law. Best to get on the right side of things early and try to do what is best.
Speaking of invasives, there is a nasty plant around that people might want to think about. It is in the Wabeno area and I know people do some work there on hero sections so this may be useful information for them.
Wild Parsnip has sap that reacts with sunlight to produce some nasty and long lasting burns that can leave permanent damage. Best to wear protective clothing when brushing and to be careful about plant sap and resins.
Here is a story about being burned.http://dnr.wi.gov/wnrmag/html/stories/1999/jun99/parsnip.htm
Some of you will be interested to know that a bill was introduced in Michigan that would stop the plating of off-road bikes.
The bill may be aimed at preventing people from licensing UTVs but takes out bikes as well.
Sec. 219. (1) The secretary of state shall refuse issuance of a registration or a transfer of registration upon any of the following grounds:
(H) THE VEHICLE IS AN OFF-ROAD VEHICLE MANUFACTURED EXCLUSIVELY FOR OFF-ROAD USE AS INDICATED BY EITHER THE ORIGINAL VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER OR A VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER ASSIGNED BY THE DEPARTMENT, UNLESS THE APPLICATION IS ACCOMPANIED BY A WRITTEN STATEMENT FROM THE MANUFACTURER OF THE OFF-ROAD VEHICLE CERTIFYING THAT THE OFF-ROAD VEHICLE MAY BE MODIFIED FOR ON-ROAD USE. AS USED IN THIS SUBDIVISION, OFF-ROAD VEHICLE INCLUDES A GOLF CART.
Thanks to 2TrakR of GLDS for keeping an eye this.
Took care of that restrictive signage problem in the Lakewood District of the CNNF yesterday. This started when I came upon a sign that a local ATV club put up at the edge of the USFS property saying “No Motorcycles”. I did some checking around and found signage that restricted us from some places we were entitled to go. The first time I raised this with the USFS I did not get satisfaction. Eventually I got it to the District Ranger who agreed to fix the problem if we would help by putting up the signs. They ordered them and I got them up. I’ll have to check but I think I put up about 40 motorcycle stickers in areas of the forest where there was or could be a problem with other user groups not understanding we are entitled to be there. I covered spots NW of Wabeno, south of Wabeno, the Crooked Lake area, the Chute Pond area, and the Sawyer Lake area.
I added some motorcycle stickers to Carsonite makers on some trails and roads we are entitled to.
I covered the initiative with some ATV club leaders in the area so seeing the stickers should be no surprise, although I’m sure some ATVers may be confused since the Oconto County ATV trail system is closed to MCs except on forest property.
I have to say that I felt good with every sticker I put in place. 😀
I made two presentations to business people and centers of influence in Boulder Junction today. Boulder Junction is in the heart of a silent sports area in a county that voted down ATVs in a county-wide referendum. The county is pretty much void of ATV trails even though trails are abundant in neighboring counties.
Boulder Junction is also an overnight stop on the Northern Wisconsin Adventure Trail and a gas stop on the Northern Highlands dual sport route.
Despite motorized recreation not being on the “top of the list” around there, these people showed a lot of enthusiasm for becoming a dual sport motorcycling destination.
They are forming a dual sort motorcycling club.
They are working toward getting more community people on board with dual sport motorcycling.
They will be working with state tourism people and their local tourism people to become more visible as a dual sport destination.
They are willing to work toward getting some single track motorcycle trail established in the adjacent NHAL state forest. This will be a longer term project but hopefully with sufficient community support. I see it as being something people can achieve. They have had a lot of success building bicycle trails around here, so working toward getting a motorcycle trail is not as big of a reach as it might be elsewhere. They could also interested in developing a trials practice area as part of any single track project.
They have beautiful forests, rolling terrain, winding two tracks, and a pretty good support structure (with a variety of other recreation opportunities). I see this as an enhancement to our recreational interest.
They have an exceptional and large wooded campground that I hadn’t visited before.
They are already talking about a spring dual sport ride open to the public and have significant interest in getting some ice riding (possibly events) going in the area.
Yes, there will be some opposition on principle from some silent sports types that won’t be affected at all by this, but the group can continue with this like they have for other projects and things will probably work out fine in the end.
I’ll continue to have a relationship with these folks to help them work their way into this and to connect them with others that can be of assistance.
I should add that some of these folks are older. Many rode some form of dirt bike as a kid. There is a lot of enthusiasm for getting back into it. Those that don’t currently have a bike are so enthusiastic about where this is going that they are shopping for dual sports so they can get back to riding “trails”. There was a lot of discussion about appropriate bikes to get. I left some notes on a variety of models to explore.
Encouraging days like this mean a lot to me. I really enjoyed experiencing some of their excitement. We need to make it a point to ride with some of these guys once they get up and running. I’m sure it will be a great experience for everyone involved.
An initiative I started working on earlier this year just came through.
Wisconsin will now allow us to post some of our motorcycle events on the Travel Wisconsin website. http://www.travelwisconsin.com/eventsTravel
This is good for us as it will promote our recreational interest and assist riders with connecting with riding opportunities in Wisconsin.
Remember the folks in Boulder Junction that just organized a club and want to promote their location as a dual sport destination? This will be useful to them.
It will also be useful for some of our dual sport and adventure motorcycling events. There is a strict criteria as to what can be promoted on the site so not everything I usually list here will qualify. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=201507here
A problem we face is that the deadline for the printed activity guide is in October so clubs that want to be in it will have to come up with their event dates and information prior to that. I will work with the clubs on that.
Our category (Adventure and Dual Sport Motorcycling) is not installed on the site yet so I have to follow up and get that done before I can start posting.
I plan to include some images with the events I post so if I don’t have them I may be asking for them.
I am also writing a brief article to introduce our stuff just ahead of the next riding season.
I’ll put more information out as I work things out.
I am the primary poster and Hotspice generously agreed to be my back-up. Thank you Tony! Tony and I will sit down and go over the material so we have a common understanding of the rules.
Another step forward for our interests.
Good day for us at today’s State Trails Council meeting.
I have been researching the concept of repurposing trails from one designated use to another for special events.
I dug into two examples interviewing club members, riders, and government officials. One was the MN DNR repurposing horse trails for a motorcycle event twice a year. The other was the USFS repurposing mountain bike and hiking trails for a motorcycle event once a year.
Prior to giving my presentation, I heard reports from the DNR about what bad shape they were in money-wise to even try to sustain what they already have much less come up with new stuff. This set the stage perfectly as the proposal I was about to make had to do with making more out of what we had.
I covered the case studies and got a lot of interest and questions. In the end the DNR thought it was a good idea for them to get permission from the Natural Resources Board to repurpose trails. This is a huge breakthrough for us because if the use isn’t covered in the Master Plan (which had studies and hearings when it was developed) it wasn’t going to happen without going through a huge procedure to change the Master Plan.
All this sets us up to be able to ride other trails for weekend events. If this was done at multiple locations around the state, it would open up a lot of trail riding weekends for OHM. This doesn’t replace us developing our own OHM trails, but it is a nice interim step to give us places to ride.
In speaking with officials after the meeting, someone pointed out that a state forest closed a horse campground because it was only used in spring and fall. During the summer, insects were a problem for horses at the camp. In a situation like this, we could “own” the campground and horse trails for motorcycle riding for most of the summer.
We could put on a dual sport ride using mountain bike, hiking, and horse trails under this concept.
I got a lot of support from the equestrian representative during the discussion phase of my presentation. In the end the council voted UNANIMOUSLY for the DNR to proceed with this concept.
Next step is that I have to repeat the presentation to the DNR Secretary and her deputies.
This action can afford us some great opportunities.
13 Nov 13
I went to a hearing today at the Capitol that had to do with some changes the snowmobilers want to make to increase their revenue and to increase participation by club members. I wanted to hear what questions and concerns some of the committee members had about the bill. This thing has been going on for years and it hasn’t passed yet. Not sure it will this time.
The reason I wanted to look into the issues is because I am looking ahead to what we can do to better fund our program. I mentioned earlier how we are getting shut out of getting state gas tax money back for our program due to a constitutional amendment that is in-process. The intent is to protect highway money. Existing programs (ATV, snowmobile) are protected.
Without the gas tax money, we will be significantly limited in our funds and will have to rely on registration dollars and maybe some limited Recreational Trail Program grants.
One idea that needs to be explored further is to try to get a piece of General Purpose Revenue paid back into our program. The argument would be that we collect sales taxes on a lot of bikes and gear. A portion of that could be invested in our program to grow tourism and generate additional revenue.
The ATV and snowmobile guys are interested as well since their funding is getting flat relative to the large amount of trails they now have that they are having a difficult time paying for. They need to find more money too. Legislators are reluctant to raise user fees even if it is our initiative due to tax pledges.
I don’t think this is something we can proceed with on our own and I wouldn’t want to hang up the OHM bill with it. Perhaps this can be done with a larger group initiative that involves other groups including non-motorized.
I’ll stay with this and coordinate with other groups to see what we can develop.
Here is how the snowmobilers handle things.
They get state gas taxes back on 50 gallons of gas for each registered snowmobile. Gas tax is around $.31 a gallon.
They also uniquely get a tourism factor where they get an additional 40% of another 50 gallons of state gas tax per registered snowmobile. Personally, I don’t see why this comes from gas taxes. It would more appropriately come from GPR like I mentioned above.
They also get registration fees and out of state registration fees.
This adds up to about $73 per snowmobile. Our registration fee is about $30. If we would have gotten 50 gallons per bike (IF) that would have been an extra $15.50 in our coffers. You can see why I want to find an additional source of revenue for the program since we lost the gas tax.
We’ll see what the future brings. Nothing is going to happen too quickly.
Saw my Congressman at a local town hall meeting. Covered the issues of E15 (big discussion), the ability of the President to designate land as a National Monument with the stroke of a pen (no input), and the Center for Disease Control trying to mandate helmet use.
American Motorcyclist Magazine did an article about things I do as an advocate along with others in the region. Hopefully it inspires more people to get involved.
I participated in a meeting involving ATV leaders from three states (MN, MI, WI). The idea was to share information and talk about addressing issues of interest to us.
There are two upcoming sessions of Trail Patrol training. It is a good idea for some OHM motorcyclists to get trained to participate in this program. This allows us to support the trail effort by doing some patrol and assistance work. Details can be found at http://trailpatrol.com/index.php/upcoming-events.
The Governor appointed me to the Off-Road Vehicle Council. I will continue to serve on the State Trails Council as well. The ORV council deals with ATV trail and facility issues related to registration and gas tax funds in support of the program. There is some overlapping interest with the OHM community.
14 Jan 14
Hello fellow off-road motorcycle enthusiasts!
Our proposed off-highway motorcycle legislation is finally moving into the final stages.
Right now the proposed bill is being circulated seeking legislators to join in sponsoring the bill.
We need to contact our assemblyman and senators to ask them to be co-sponsors.
Ask them to co-sponsor LRB 0082/3 which is the proposed OHM legislation that Representative Mursau is offering.
If you do not know who your assemblyman or senator is, you can use this link to find out.
Please take action on this today and pass the word to other enthusiasts asking them to take action as well.
It is important that we do all we can to gain support for the proposed OHM legislation.
Thanks for getting involved!
OHM Advocate, WOHMA
26 Jan 14
Spoke with the legislator sponsoring our legislation on Saturday. He is still trying to advance it in the short period remaining in this session. Still possible that we will get it to a committee hearing although it will be short notice if we do.
Helped out with a meeting that gave information to local officials, news people, and members of the public concerning the OHV park they want to put together in Forest County. Some people from NOHVCC made presentations on how other parks developed and what their economic impact is. There has been some growing controversy in the area about developing the park. Much of that has to do with potential costs to the county government and disruption of other activities like hunting. The lack of information on some topics, including possible locations for the park and how it will be funded, has some residents frustrated and concerned. Noise and environmental issues haven’t been a big topic of concern so far.
The person leading the effort for the park mentioned that the park would be principally used by 4WD enthusiasts followed closely by ATV/UTV people. He mentioned that motorcycle use would be “lagging far to the rear” of the other two user groups.
The briefings about how several other areas developed and operate was great.
Another advocate and I are local (WI) reps for NOHVCC (National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council) which led to our involvement helping out with the meeting.
28 Jan 14
I was elected Chairman of the Governor’s State Trails Council.
Earlier this year I mentioned that I approached Travel Wisconsin about promoting dual sport and adventure motorcycling is Wisconsin. Over time I was able to get an account with them so I could post some events and riding opportunities to the site to promote our recreational interest, increase our visibility and acceptance, and inform more people of riding opportunities. I will soon have an article posted to the site introducing our recreational interest there.
Here are some of the postings I have in place as of this date:
[URL=”http://www.travelwisconsin.com/events/adventure-sports/ride-for-research…“]Ride for Research[/URL]
[URL=”http://www.travelwisconsin.com/events/adventure-sports/big-woods-200-dua…“]Big Woods 200[/URL]
[URL=”http://www.travelwisconsin.com/events/adventure-sports/field-and-forest-…“]Field and Forest Dual Sport[/URL]
[URL=”http://www.travelwisconsin.com/events/adventure-sports/bucky-dual-sport-…“]Bucky Dual Sport[/URL]
[URL=”http://www.travelwisconsin.com/adventure-sports/northern-wisconsin-adven…“]Northern Wisconsin Adventure Trail[/URL]
[URL=”http://www.travelwisconsin.com/adventure-sports/northern-highland-americ…“]Northern Highland – American Legion Dual Sport Path[/URL]
[URL=”http://www.travelwisconsin.com/adventure-sports/south-of-wabeno-dual-spo…“]South of Wabeno Dual Sport[/URL]
[URL=”http://www.travelwisconsin.com/adventure-sports/lakewood-area-adventure-…“]Lakewood Area Adventure Motorcycle Path[/URL]
[URL=”http://www.travelwisconsin.com/adventure-sports/flambeau-dual-sport-moto…“]Flambeau Dual Sport Motorcycle Path[/URL]
[URL=”http://www.travelwisconsin.com/adventure-sports/conover-dual-sport-motor…“]Conover Dual Sport[/URL]
[URL=”http://www.travelwisconsin.com/adventure-sports/harepare-dual-sport-moto…“]HarePare Dual Sport[/URL]
I wanted to post the [URL=”http://www.travelwisconsin.com/events/adventure-sports/trans-wisconsin-a…“]Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail[/URL] as well but someone went direct to TW post it before our account was in place. Looks like a business posted it. Now it is not being maintained. I will ask Chad if he wants me to adopt this under the DS and ADV listings so it doesn’t disappear. Listings need to be regularly maintained so I will have to act on them to keep them alive.
The Off-Highway Motorcycle legislation is coming to a hearing at the Capitol on Wednesday, February 12th, in room 417N (GAR Hall). I will be coordinating some of the OHM community’s participation in this hearing. We will have 1 or 2 people speak in favor of the bill, but it is very important that we have many others attend the hearing and register at the door in favor of the bill. Please attend and register in favor of the bill if you are able. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.
Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage
The committee will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time specified below:[/COLOR][/FONT]W
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
[Or Immediately Following the Executive Session)
417 North (GAR Hall)
Assembly Bill 694
Relating to: operation of off-highway motorcycles, granting rule-making authority, providing penalties, and making appropriations.
By Representatives Mursau, Swearingen, A. Ott, Bies, Kestell, Strachota, Krug, T. Larson, Brooks and Petryk; cosponsored by Senators Gudex and L. Taylor.
Looks like the Wisconsin Outdoor Expo project I was working on isn’t going to fly. The idea here was to display OHM/DS/ADV at the interactive expo for about 3,000 kids and 600 adults. It looks like the event can’t meet its funding/sponsorship goals this time.
Maybe that referendum issue for a check off to raise funds to support the project will bring it back.
There is no OFFICIAL word saying it is off, but . . .
12 Feb 14
The Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Committee of the Legislature met today and heard a presentation about our Off-Highway Motorcycle bill (AB 694).
The hearing went very well. We had a good plan going in to the briefing and it seemed some committee members were impressed with the work we had done to develop and present the bill. Two members of the Wisconsin ATV Association spoke in support of the bill as well, eliminating any concerns about conflicts between the interests of our motorized user groups.
It is still possible for the bill to make it to the floor for a vote this session. I would describe this as “best case”. It is also possible that it will get sidetracked for a variety of reasons. Either way, we have come a long way and are doing well with our bill.
All good news! I will keep you updated as things progress.
If the bill goes to the floor, I will be calling for people contact their legislators asking for their support.
Thanks so much to the people that attended the hearing and registered in favor of the bill. All that positive support really served us well. There were no negatives from anyone that I know about. Although, my own representative that is on the committee and voted against the 4WD bill wasn’t present at the hearing and may vote against it if I can’t convince him otherwise.
I am very glad that some of our riders got to experience a small piece of the process first hand. The speed that this went through the committee doesn’t seem to represent all the time and effort that went into it. I guess maybe it shows that the work was complete and good enough to see it through without a lot of issues.
Some of you may have noted how important it is to carefully measure your words when presenting or even discussing this bill with others. It is best to try to keep it positive and not stray into the weeds. Focus on the big positive picture.
All and all a good day for off-highway motorcycling.
4 March 2014
Made a presentation (along with ATV and snowmobile) at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism today. I work pretty closely with the ATV and snowmobile guys so we had a very mutually supportive message. The topic was motorized trails.
I concentrated on telling our story and on getting more communities to include us in their recreational catalog. I cited the work with Boulder Junction wanting to become a dual sport destination as an example.
I pointed out that it is easy to take first steps with dual sporting since it does not require dedicated trails like some other activities and it is easy get in and out of town on licensed bikes. Once a community gets started with dual sporting, it is a much easier transition to get support for single track trails nearby. Community interest can also lead to increased access to ATV trails where we might not be allowed right now. Although there wasn’t a lot of time for follow-up, I did exchange some contact info with a few that seem interested to talk more later on.
I am also continuing with a regional rep from Wisconsin tourism to try follow up with their assistance as well.
All steps that will take us closer to where we want to go.
2 Apr 14
I spent an hour today briefing the management group for the State Forests in Wisconsin. The purpose of the briefing was to orient them on off-highway motorcycling, ongoing issues, our interests, and how the forests related to them. I explained what goes into recon, scouting, coordination, and publishing tracks to ride. I covered way too much information to try to capture here, and I was surprised at how well received the message was. I keep telling people how important it is to tell our story since understanding brings acceptance. I think this orientation demonstrated that today. I received several compliments on both the quality and the content of the briefing which is an indication that it was well received. I talked a lot about our interest in developing sustainable single track trails. A fellow I have worked with over the years on tracks in one of the state forests was part of the meeting and was able to describe how we cooperate to meet each others needs. Very helpful for the forestry folks to hear positive things about our recreational interest from one of their own – especially since we have a positive record for being good stewards there. I truly appreciate officials that treat all groups fairly.
As a side note, the State Forests plan to develop a product similar to the MVUM that the USFS uses. This can be good for us. It cuts down on some of the manual coordination that is otherwise required.
I had lunch with the group which allowed for some follow up chats. One of the group told me of some great places to ride at and around the property where he is assigned so I’ll be coordinating with him further down the road to develop some new rides in new places.
All in all a good day for everyone.
3 May 14
I’m up in Minneapolis for a meeting of motorized reps from WI, MI, MN, and IA. We are discussing issues of mutual interest and working on developing some joint projects.
Very interesting to dig deeper into what some of the challenges and successes are in neighboring states.
24 May 14
Spoke with Eau Claire County. Went over the issue concerning the code that needs to be tidied up to eliminate a prohibition on motorcycles.
The director mentioned that it was nice to work with people like us on these issues (referring to good attitudes). Clearly Danimal left a positive impression when he spoke with them. He asked me to send him suggested wording to fix the problem. I have done so and will follow up later to make sure everything is taken care of.
9 Jun 14
Routine meeting with the USFS today. Their Rec Spec noted that dual sport motorcycling seemed to be a growing interest. All said in a positive light. Good for us to be recognized.
Got a message back from Eau Claire County that after conferring with their Corporation Counsel they didn’t think they would be amending the code prohibiting all motorcycles. I’ll be following up on this issue to make sure the problem and resolution are both clear so we can get this squared away.
10 Jun 14
More discussion with Eau Claire County. Made some gains by carefully going through the issue to gain a better understanding and mutual agreement. Issue is going back to the corporation council but with more information that will give a clearer picture of what and why things need to be fixed. It is important to take on issues like this with an attitude to work together to arrive at the proper end state rather than rattling sabers right off the bat.
On another note, some may remember some issues with a certain ATV club essentially wanting to kick motorcycle riders off the Marinette County ATV trail system. Some stories may have been reported here. Whole separate issue I don’t want to get into right now.
However, I mapped all the sections of the trail that have been signed closed to motorcycles. The idea may have been to break up the trail with closed sections enough to discourage other users. Of the 213 miles of trail only about 14 have been signed closed. Some of the signing may not be legit and I am taking that up with the county to resolve. One sign I questioned that I casually mentioned to a county rep when I started this project has already been removed. The closures are concentrated in an area associated with the club involved above.
So, now that I have visibility of the closed sections, I can complete a project of publishing some dual sport routes in that area that maximize the use of the good parts of the ATV trail and county forest roads while avoiding sections of the ATV trail that are signed closed.
I also cleared up some confusion in adjoining Florence County where the ATV trails are not open to motorcycles. Seems like some of the signed trail includes seasonal gas tax roads that are open to licensed motor vehicles. I already published some dual sport tracks there that take in some of the scenic waterfalls. Working on some other initiatives there as well.
Please do not practice the unproductive behavior of bashing ATV people. I ride an ATV myself. There are a few issues to deal with, but overall we have a good relationship and need to continue to foster that for the future.
22 Jun 15
Some of you may remember that I was approached by someone from Boulder Junction who was interested in adding dual sporting to the town’s catalog of recreational opportunities.
I gave two briefings to some business leaders in the town to explain our recreational interest and what they would need to do to become a dual sport destination. I also told them they needed to start a local dual sport club.
This spring a couple of people in the area worked hard to derail this initiative and incite controversy. There were three meetings that I know of where they expressed their discontent. Some of the controversy was reported in the newspaper (I was mentioned by name).
The Town Chairman called me to ask about things. After we talked he was satisfied there was no problem and that the town government really didn’t have much to say about it anyway. Finally the Chamber of Commerce overwhelmingly voted to actively promote dual sporting in Boulder Junction.
I provided a catalog of tracks based out of Boulder Junction that people can ride when they visit there.
Since that time I steered a few small groups that way. I heard of a group from Illinois that wanted to informally meet-up for some dual sporting. I contacted them and set them up with contacts in Boulder Junction that could help them with their needs (lodging, camping, food, etc). About 40-50 riders showed up there this weekend and rode a variety of the tracks. Some got as far as Lake Superior. People had a great time and some excellent rides.
The local dual sport club (which immediately started off with 20 members) provided us cards to identify us as dual sport riders. They wanted us to leave them at businesses where we spent money. Leaving these cards worked well. I got some nice comments back from business people about supporting us.
One business person told me that he initially was against bringing dual sporting to the area but now that he has seen things for himself he heartily supports it. People went out of their way to make us feel welcome. The Town Chairman stopped by the “base camp” and spent quite a while chatting with people and seeing what goes on first hand. He made us feel very welcome.
So, this is a success story where within a year we were able to partner with a community to expand opportunities to enjoy our recreational interest. It is also a clear example of how important it is to help people understand the facts about who we are and what we do instead of forming judgments based on what they imagine things are like.
13 Jul 14
The street version of the August American Motorcyclist magazine has an article with comments from the people and organizations that were awarded sound testing equipment as part of an AMA grant. There are quotes in the article from Lobster and myself (Lobajeski and Much).
So far I have been able to run a bunch of sound tests. People are actually pretty anxious to participate just to see where they are at. These have been done on an individual basis or as part of informal riding events.
At a recent informal in Boulder Junction, some folks from the town saw us sound testing and took a few pictures of it. Nice opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to policing ourselves and keeping people within limits.
My experience has been (generally) that many HDs fail and a few racing dirt bikes fail.
It is important for us to keep these meters active at as many informal get-togethers as we can. The clubs are already good about testing formal events. We need to try to work with the people that might never make it to a formal ride and may not otherwise have the opportunity to know where they are at sound-wise.
Increased awareness leads to increased compliance which leads to increase opportunities for places to ride.
28 Jul 14
Hard for me to believe that someone that is against ATVs in Vilas County would post a comment advocating throwing nails on the trail.
The Sheriff should have a chat with this guy. A real credit to his cause. :rolleyes
Post #2 to this newspaper article.
“If this occurs it opens up a whole can of worms. Two of my neighbors say theres only one way to handle this nails , nails and more nails. I sure hope it doesnt go through. We dont need this. And we dont need crazy people doing crazy things. So let me get this straight in summer vilas isnt the silent sports county anymore so dont walk your dog down trails or hike or bike and since atvs cant cross lakes they will be on roads which is dangerous to everyone. In fall they will be on the trails I walk while hunting ( great) and in winter they will be on trails with snowmobiles. In spring tearing up wet trails and back on roads. Who are the board members who voted for changing vilas as no longer silent sports county. Frank if you know can you post as I was out of town. Thank you.”
29 Jul 15
Spent the morning at the Capitol making presentations at five senate offices. The point was to work out a lead and co-sponsors for the required senate version of the OHM bill. All went well.
Our bill should go right through early in the session in January. Laying the ground work for that to happen now.
31 Jul 14
State Trails Council today in Oshkosh. Packed a lot into the meeting.
We’ve been doing a lot with the concept of trail towns and some initiatives there (at least with some user groups). I gave an orientation about how Boulder Junction evolved to add dual sporting to their recreational catalog. Nice to be able to show a case where facts and reality prevailed.
1 Aug 14
Off Road Vehicle Council meeting today. The purpose was to resolve some issues prior to our funding meeting next month. We have a ton of funding requests for ATV trails to deal with that may total twice the amount of the money that is available. Perhaps about $7M in requests.
2 Aug 14
Boulder Junction folks stopped by the Central Rally site.
They mentioned that interest in promoting dual sporting is starting to spread to other communities in the area – even some that are not warm to ATVs.
I like that this successful project is seeding some others. All good for our recreational interest.
20 Aug 14
The Off-Road Vehicle Council (WI) met this week. We dealt with some funding issues this time.
After trail maintenance miles for ATV trails were paid, we had just under $3M to spend on just under $7M in requested projects that ranged from trail and bridge rehab down to maps and signage. Hard to sort through all this with a $4M shortfall, but we managed to work through it.
In the end, I think we made good choices as far as what to fund.
Once we get the OHM legislation in place (and we generate some money) we will eventually have a similar process for those trail funds.
17 Sep 14
Spent a couple of days in NW WI as part of an ORV Council meeting. Met with some county foresters and spend some time in the field on trail maintenance and funding issues. Also trying to improve the grant review system to help us do the best we can in reviewing grant applications.
17 Sep 14
John Newton of WDSR approached his hometown township board (Laona, WI) about allowing off-highway motorcycle use on a tract of township land in Forest County. Over time he was able to get approval from the board to establish single track motorcycle trail on a portion of an 80 acre tract. John says that the single track will be used during WDSR events but that it will also remain open for public use anytime. Even though he only recently got approval for his initiative, he and the WDSR folks managed to put in about .7 miles of trail that will be included in this month’s event. Next year they will be able to continue trail building and hope to get a total of about 3 miles of single track on the portions of the property they are allowed to use.
This is great news! It will also serve as an example for other similar opportunities that might be developed on small tracts in other places around the state.
John mentioned that the trail will be shared with some other user groups like mountain bikes and equestrians but ATVs will be excluded to preserve the single track quality of the trail.
Thanks John for going after this!
20 Sep 14
Spent some time today speaking with some government officials.
Chatted with the Secretary of Tourism for WI about what we are doing to promote off-highway motorcycling using the Travel Wisconsin site and other tourist literature.
Updated someone from the DNR Secretary’s office about the progress of our legislation for OHM.
Spoke with a legislator about the upcoming bill. Explained some of the concepts and asked for his support (no problem there).
Spoke with the Vilas County Board Chairman about the dual sport initiatives we have going in his county. They have resisted motorized recreation in the past but now are embracing dual sporting and are moving ahead with some limited ATV initiatives as well. This is the county where the Central Rally is held. I’ve enjoyed a positive dialogue with him for quite some time now. He said he also has been informing people about the Central Rally we hold there as another example of how dual sporting can be good for the county.
24 Sep 14
I mentioned this potential park in Milwaukee County before.
Senator Taylor just had a meeting to explore the possibilities a little more.
This idea was initiated by some conservation wardens that saw the area was being ridden illegally and thought that it might be a good idea to make it legal.
25 Sep 14
Meeting with the Wisconsin County Forest Assn today. These folks are important to us since most of the trails we develop will be in county forests.
On the road at 0500 on the Tenere with a couple of rain showers along the way.
Was able to enjoy the ride home with sunny and cool weather. Managed to knock of 24 more haunted locations (photographs).
Nice to be able to get some recreation out of one of these meeting days. Just under 500 miles. Long day.
29 Sep 14
There are a lot of folks involved in promoting things in WI – especially with the club events and some local projects. The club level folks are also the people that will help to gain opportunities for us on a local level once the macro issues get resolved.
I concentrate working the the statewide issues, making contacts, building relationships, and working to gain the enabling understanding and acceptance of our recreational interest. Along the way I go after some local or regional opportunities. It all builds . . . but slowly. Sometimes the playing field is a little complex as there are a variety of issues involved that aren’t visible until you really get into it pretty deep.
With all our efforts, we have a better future ahead.
An important key to success will be with local clubs (new or existing) working with their local government to get some projects on the ground once we get the other components in place.
It is still a priority to get a major motorized recreation area in the southern part of the state where we have an abundance of riders but a shortage of places to ride.
7 Oct 14
Spent the better part of this sunny and cool day doing some riding with some officials in the National Forest working on some trail/access issues.
Small group that included the district ranger, rec specialist, a warden, and some other civilians.
The idea was to use ATVs and UTVs to check on some things in the forest. I made it a point to show up on a dual sport because I wanted these guys to have the first hand experience of riding with OHMs. It worked out well and supports another initiative about access I have going in that area.
A couple of the guys were concerned about whether I would be able to negotiate some muddy sections on the bike. I don’t think they had much exposure to what we do. I appreciated their thoughtful concern. Everything was fine.
10 Oct 14
I got a question about the constitutional amendment that has been proposed to protect transportation money.
Here is what it means to off-highway motorcycling. People like snowmobilers, boaters, and ATV riders get state gas tax money refunded to their programs to support trails, harbors, and the like. The reasoning is that the gas on which the tax is paid was intended for highways. Since the use didn’t involve highways, the money is made available to their programs. OHM did not have the provision in law at the time the amendment was proposed so we are not included in the protection. I looked for ways to get us included but since the amendment required action in two consecutive sessions, and one was already complete, no one was going to start the process over to include OHM.
The big picture is that the amendment keeps people from spending transportation dollars on programs that aren’t related to transportation. Many of you know there are issues with trying to pay for the transportation network we have now so we can’t afford to give up money for other programs.
So, that should give a picture of how this relates to us. Probably a good idea to vote in favor of it.
By the way, there is still money returned to us from federal gas taxes under a similar concept. This comes back to us as part of the Recreational Trails Program. However, this program has been threatened in the past and may not survive in the future. Also, some of the federal gas tax money generated by motorized recreation under RTP is required to be spent for non-motorized trails for things like hiking and bicycling.
10 Oct 14
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Begins Road Study
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Rhinelander, Wis. (Oct. 6, 2014) – The U.S. Forest Service is beginning a study of the road system on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and wants to know which national forest roads are important to visitors and why.
“We are committed to balancing the needs for public access to the National Forest with our responsibility to sustain a productive, diverse and healthy national forest,” said Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Supervisor Paul Strong.
Every national forest will complete the study by October 2015. The study will analyze all of the forest system roads for their existing use and characteristics, need for management activities and public access, benefits, environmental risks and maintenance costs.
The number of overdue road maintenance projects continues to grow in the Forest Service and public use is increasing. Roads that cannot be adequately maintained can be unsafe to visitors and threaten forest health. They can increase sedimentation into rivers and streams, degrade water quality and impact fish and wildlife.
The Forest Service is seeking public comments on how the public uses and views forest system roads. The comment period will end Dec. 1, 2014.
“The public’s input is valuable to us as we work together to manage our road system and ensure clean water and a healthy forest,” said Strong.
In addition to the comments received from the public, the Forest Service is analyzing agency needs for access to manage the forest. Criteria under consideration include analyzing each road’s benefit, potential risks to visitor safety and forest health and agency costs to manage the road. The road study is not a decision, but is intended to help inform possible future road management planning. Before any future actions are taken, the Forest Service will provide additional opportunities for the public to participate in the process.
Anyone may view maps of the national forest roads and provide input through an online comment form at http://go.usa.gov/vf8z. Hardcopy maps and comment forms are also available for review at each Ranger District office and the Forest Supervisor’s office. For more information about the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and the road study, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/cnnf.
Each District will host an informal open house where the public is invited to come and ask questions, look at maps and enter in their comments to the website.
Eagle River-Florence – Oct. 15 from 3-7 p.m. at the Lincoln Town Hall in Eagle River, WI
Great Divide – Oct. 17 from 2-7 p.m. at the Hayward Public Library Community Room in Hayward, WI
Lakewood-Laona- Oct. 22 from 1-5 p.m. at the Laona Office in Laona, WI
Medford-Park Falls – Oct. 23 from 2-7 p.m. at the Park Falls Office in Park Falls, WI
Washburn – Oct. 16 from 2-7 p.m. at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, WI
I’m sure this program is going to result in more closures for motorized vehicles. Sadly, the roads that are candidates for closure are likely the ones that we like best because they are the most trail like.
There is nothing new about this assessment. The USFS was directed to get things cleaned up a long time ago. That is how the MVUM came into being. This seems like just another installment.
I’ll report more information about it once I get the orientation on the current initiative at the open house.
All the more reason for us to get some dedicated trail miles in the forest. Some comments made by officials indicate they aren’t too interested in that at the moment.
We need to keep in mind that these are OUR National Forests for us to enjoy. They are also working forests where timber is managed and harvested. Preservation and management are important but managers need to find ways to support recreational interests like ours.
13 Oct 14
Washington County has been doing some research about the possibility of putting together an off-road vehicle park in the county.
They have an old golf course near West Bend that may be in the mix.
They are holding a workshop on Wednesday, October 22d, from 6PM to 8:30PM. The meeting will be at UW-Washington County in rooms 301, 302, 305, and 311. This is located at 400 University Drive in West Bend.
This is a good opportunity for off-highway motorcyclists, especially those that live in the county, to express their strong interest in getting some off-highway motorcycle trails in the county.
It would be great if the Kettle Moraine club to get a bunch of members to go to the meeting. This is especially true because a site they are considering is just down the road from the club president.
From the flyer:
Learn about the Washington County Park and Trail System
Voice your opinion on the types of recreational activities that the County should provide
Guide the future direction of the County Park and Trail System
Map your vision
Refreshments will be provided
I’ll be there even though I am not a Washington County resident.
Looking forward to seeing a bunch of riders at the meeting – especially the KMSR guys that live in Washington County.
16 Oct 14
I went to the open house about this USFS project to collect user information on all their roads.
I spent quite a bit of time exploring the issues. I was told that this isn’t a big deal. I pointed out the reasons why it is a big deal.
This is part of subpart “a” of the Travel Management Plan (get data on roads and uses). Subpart b got us the MVUM. For some reason they initially skipped this aspect of “a” and went directly to “b”. Now they are collecting data for “a”.
The problem is that they are collecting data on road uses that will be available the first time a budget cut comes up. Keep in mind they already mentioned maintenance backlog in their release. Which roads would be closed? The ones that we prefer.
Indirectly I heard that the Nicolet segment had to lose 1,000 miles of road and that the Chequamegon segment had to lose 100. Pretty serious if you ask me.
They have some pre-addressed sheets to write comments on and send in. I think they imagined that some deer hunter would list one or two roads that he might use during hunting season.
I showed them some of my catalog of rides and pointed out that it might be a bit difficult to list all those road segments. They have an on-line tool where you can click on a road and add a comment. Not much better.
In the end I arranged to work with one of their people. I’ll pile tracks that run through the forests into a single file and send them in. I specifically asked how I would know that this data would be visible in their project data base. I am also concerned that generally this counts as a single use by a single person. The FS guy asked about the thousands of views and downloads he saw on the track website so he understands that there are hundreds of more users not visible.
I also contacted some of my associates that are involved in tracks, etc, to do some coordination.
I have to give this more thought and talk some more with a few others about the best way to work this thing.
Right now I see that I’ll have to prepare files for the CNNF in WI, Lake Superior in MN (North Shore track catalog), Ottawa in the UP, and the Hiawatha in the UP. I’ll also have to contact the other forests to get them to agree to accept the same method the CNNF agreed to.
I contacted my buddy 2TrakR about his extensive catalog of tracks in MI.
I also contacted WDSR about this when it first came out. I’ll follow up with them to make sure they get all their event tracks into the data base. I spoke with the FS rep about accepting their stuff in the same format and he is fine with that.
User input is due by December 1.
In the end, I’m not too sure what difference our input will make. Important to get it in the record though.
16 Oct 14
In another project to try to increase access to existing ATV trails, I gave a briefing this week to a Trail Use Council in Oconto County. I just got on the council as an OHM rep.
I explained our recreational interest, the presence we already have in the county, and made a pitch for opening up the county trail system to OHM. In the end, I got the unanimous recommendation of the council to do so. I also had 5 people approach me after the meeting to compliment me on the presentation. To me, that means that people are accepting the message I am trying to pitch. Understanding brings acceptance.
I will take this recommendation to the county government and try to start the process to get them to make the change. No doubt other stakeholders (more people from the ATV community) will have the opportunity to weigh in there before any change is made.
This is good for us because it expands our catalog of trail riding opportunities and the area is close to a lot of riders.
It also could allow WDSR to include some of these trails in Wabeno events. I am also working a project in another county that might allow WDSR to get some new trail access there as well.
Also, back when I did the South of Wabeno dual sport tracks I did them for WDSR to be able to use them in their events. At the time an official in the forest service told the club that doing the permit for the route would have taken an excessive amount of work in the field (extensive use of dim stuff) that would have exceeded some threshold causing the permit fee to get quite expensive. So, the club couldn’t use them. In speaking with a different official, I find that the permit shouldn’t have been a problem. I’ll get with WDSR to see about doing something with this. If the permit turns out to be no problem and if we can get access to other Oconto County trails, it might be a good opportunity for them to add some additional and new material to their future events.
Part of the presentation I make is about self-policing. There is always someone in the audience that brings up a story about some knucklehead they met that was doing something wrong. I describe what we do to self-police, and I point out that every user group has a knucklehead factor. I am usually able to put the knucklehead issue into perspective and satisfy any concerns.
By the way, a USFS guy made it a point to tell me a story yesterday about some riders on the USFS Flambeau trail that were really riding hard and fast. He said they didn’t bother to slow down for him as he was working on the trail. And, the trail was closed under a voluntary closure at the beginning of the season since it was still too wet to ride. I’m sure he tells that story to others as well including the people he works with. A story about a small incident that probably traveled a long way in places where we didn’t need it to. I hate getting hit with those stories and people like to bring them up – sometimes at the State Trails Council as well. The only way I can address some of these things is to try to present a better image that makes it clear that these people are outliers.
By the way, while I was talking about self-policing, the two wardens in the audience were quite surprised when I mentioned I had a sound meter in my vehicle out in the parking lot to use to create awareness in our user group. I also told people how it is mandatory to pass a sound test to enter an event. I spent some time with one of the wardens when I was on the bike last week on business and the other is a regional supervisor. It was clear they adopted a favorable view of our recreational interest – despite having to deal with an occasional knucklehead.
16 Oct 14
The WI DNR has a process for inventorying, mapping, and providing a plan for motorized access on state lands. Coincidentally, I’ll be learning more about this next month and will report any issues of concern.
23.116 Department property; mapping and access to roads.
23.116(1)(1) ”Department property” means a property that is owned by the state, that is under the jurisdiction of the department, and that is used for one of the purposes specified in s. 23.09 (2) (d).
23.116(2)(2) The department shall inventory and map all roads that are located on each department property. Each map shall designate which roads are open to the public for the use of motorized vehicles and shall state when each road is open or closed for such use.
23.116(3)(3) For each department property, the department shall work with members of the public, governmental units, and other interested parties to prepare a plan for allowing the public to use motorized vehicles on the department property. Ecological, economic, and social criteria shall be considered in preparing each plan. Each plan shall include methods for implementing the plan, and each plan shall contain criteria to be used in determining when the use of motorized vehicles may be restricted or temporarily prohibited by the department due to logging or other activities.
22 Oct 14
I participated in the Washington County Parks Workshop this evening in West Bend. There were a lot of people there that had interests in motorized recreation. Thanks to those that came out to express their interest in the county moving toward meeting the unmet demand for motorized recreation.
There were a series of stations that allowed people to express their views on a wide array of general park related topics.
One station had people record their thoughts on Washington County Parks. Lots of comments related to motorized recreation were posted there.
People indicated potential areas for motorized recreation by marking them on a map.
Lots of relevant information to review.
I urge those interested in seeing a motorized recreation area to print out this form and send in comments to Washington County (address is on the form). You really don’t need to use the form, you can just send a letter or e-mail with the points you want to make.
So, as I mentioned before the meeting, this was a workshop to gain input for Washington County regarding what they should be doing with their parks and trails. In one session, there were 53 uses queried. Of those we had two: an ATV/OHM Course and ATV Trails.
This input allows Washington County Parks to update their plans. With the strong interest in motorized recreation, hopefully that use will be included in the plan. The county may then pursue an individual project (like the former golf course) and enter the process of hearings and related matters involved with a potential individual project.
There is no assurance about a motorized recreation area, but it is encouraging that the county recognizes the unmet demand and is exploring the potential for it.
Thanks again to all who showed. Those who didn’t should take a moment to make some comments in support of motorized recreation opportunities in the county.
You can e-mail comments to:
5 Nov 2014
One component of advocating for our recreational interest is getting information out about what we do. Understanding often brings acceptance.
Increasing our visibility was the objective when I went after posting our stuff on the Travel Wisconsin site.
The Michigan travel folks tracked me down after reading a ride report on exploring the eastern UP. I told them I would write some stories in the spring, but gave them this fall related story for now. They published it this morning.
Edit: Shared this with my contact at Travel Wisconsin. They are back on the project I started with them about getting an article up there as well. It got lost in the shuffle before but I’ll get it published this time around. Kind of an introduction to our rec interest.
8 Nov 14
Gave an update at the District 16 (AMA) meeting today.
Apart from updating on a variety of topics, spent some time emphasizing how important it is for us to get out and develop local contacts, local relationships, and to promote understanding of who we are and what we do as part of an effort to gain greater acceptance. As I have said many times, understanding leads to acceptance.
We need to be visible and recognized as having a lot of unmet demand. That unmet demand can translate into commerce for areas that take advantage of it.
12 Nov 14
Off-Road Vehicle Council meeting this morning. We paid for some storm damage to trails and kicked in on a land purchase for trails.
13 Nov 14
State Trails Council meeting today. The meeting was pretty spirited for a while.
As the result of a requirement in a budget bill, the DNR is now inventorying and categorizing all of their roads. One claim was this was part of a transparency issue so that people know what roads are closed, why they are closed, and when they are closed. They intend to produce maps that give us this information.
The danger to us is that once someone starts collecting data and categorizing roads with a broad brush, we face a greater risk of closures. As a budget measure, it is easy to say “we need to reduce road spending by a certain percentage” which could lead to a portion of the roads that we enjoy in lieu of trails being closed in the future.
I made it very clear how important this issue is to us how we want to be part of the process and be informed throughout the process. That will happen.
As you can see, this program is similar to what is going on with the national forests right now.
We also voted to kick in some RTP money on a land purchase for trails (same purchase the other council kicked in on yesterday).
Alternatives for Sauk Prairie will come out 1st quarter of 2015. Now that the election is over, things are moving again. We’ll need to comment once these come out.
There was also an issue where a silent sports rep wanted to introduce a resolution to restrict the DNR’s flexibility to grant special use permits that were contrary to established uses. The issue that started it was a permit granted to the American Legion to give military veterans (some disabled or elderly) an ATV ride on a railroad grade trail that wasn’t open to ATV use in the summer. The animated discussion brought some underlying feelings (perhaps prejudices) to the surface. I offered that when there are people involved, we need to have a little wiggle room – especially since changes to master plans move very slowly. In the end half the council voted for rigidity and the other half voted for wiggle room (essentially) so the message to the DNR was that there should be wiggle room.
30 Nov 14
Just submitted the input for the road study that the CNNF is conducting. This is the Wisconsin data that includes my stuff, the WDSR event tracks, and the TWAT. I submitted GPX data and a spreadsheet that breaks out the roads by number on paper. Huge thanks to my fellow advocate and pal 2TrakR for some snazzy computer work that interpreted tracks to data on the spreadsheet. This way we can ensure our 32 pages of roads being used gets properly recorded in the study.
The Superior National Forest (MN) data is due by 12 Dec. We are still working on that and some Michigan data as well.
5 Dec 14
Ho-Chunk gets a chunk of the Badger Ammo plant. Sen Baldwin held up some official’s appointment until the deal was made.
This was part of the original plan for the property and will not alter any potential proposals for off-road vehicle use on the DNR portion of the property.
10 Dec 14
Off-Road Vehicle Council meeting today.
DNR is purging improper ATV/UTV registrations. Lots of vehicle registered that don’t meet the legal definition. Looking for a law to deal with false registrations for ATVs/UTVs. This will likely bleed over to our OHM legislation.
We just hit a record of 25 ATV fatalities this year. This is relevant to OHM as we will be operating in the same safety environment.
On 25 fatalities, only one rider was wearing a helmet.
11 on roads, 12 on private property, 2 on trails.
15 involved alcohol with a couple of highs being over .3% BAC.
The interesting thing about these fatalities and their related factors is that most of them are not trail related yet the unfavorable components are associated with public ATV trails.
If a farmer rolls a farm tractor and is killed it is a farm accident. If a farmer rolls an ATV and is killed it is an ATV accident.
15 Dec 14
What a coincidence your post is. I just now (a few minutes ago) finished making a bunch of notes regarding a redrafting of our proposed OHM legislation based on some changes that were implemented in ATV/UTV legislation in the past year. Scrub, scrub, scrub, cross-reference, research and edit all in an effort to get it as right as we can the first time around. I’m not sure it is possible to forsee every potential development that might arise in some obscure situation further down the road. It hasn’t worked that way with the ATV legislation over the years – lots of clean up bills to fix obscure problems. By the way, the ATV folks have been helpful in sharing their wisdom in an effort to help us avoid some of the problems they encountered.
Anyway, we are still on track to get it done this session. Assembly is solid, working on the Senate now.
17 Dec 14
Meeting up north today. Working with some folks on a variety of issues but the big one is some standard system of marking specific trail locations (like intersections). Previously I surveyed some people in the business and no one had a complete solution that worked well. Presented some ideas today on something that seems to be good. These folks are going to run it past their clubs to see if there are any glitches that aren’t accounted for. I need to do a test map in the next week or so and distribute some background material so we can finalize something after the first of the year. Once I get some illustrative materials put together, I’ll share it here. This test project may result in something that could be implemented state-wide. We just need to work it locally first to see if there are any hang-ups.
After that meeting I spent some time pitching expanded access for OHM to a forester and a county board member. I got the usual reasons why it won’t work, etc, etc. I’m used to that. People generally form opinions on the information they have. I’ve always maintained that understanding brings acceptance so it is important for me to go up there and make a more comprehensive briefing to a county committee. Looks like I’ll get that presentation scheduled after the 1st of the year.
When people put up the usual reasons why they don’t want OHM I don’t get frustrated anymore. I just try to answer each objection with a well developed factual response. If you answer enough stuff, eventually people start to run out of objections. One guy told me I was a good salesman. I told him I him I had a good product. 😀
20 Dec 14
We really need to get some trail patrollers qualified so we can get on the record as being active in formally contributing to “policing” things on the trail. Trail patrollers are essentially ambassadors that keep an eye out for issues and offer assistance and information on the trail.
Records are kept of trail miles and hours spent on patrol to add to the database of how we are contributing. Patrol can involve a formally structured patrol, courtesy sound testing in a parking lot, and the like. Or, it could involve doing your usual riding while wearing a patrol vest while doing patrol work at the same time.
Trail patrollers must operate in pairs so if you are interested drag your usual riding pals to the training so you have people to patrol with. If you are a solo rider, no problem, get qualified because someone will be looking for a patrol buddy from time to time.
Someone like Ben could patrol on a dual sport while his co-patroller rides an ATV.
Maybe I can get a special training session set up for the March meet and greet in Delafield. Ideally, people would submit their paperwork ahead of time so they could get cleared to graduate and get their credentials upon completion of the training.
I might be able to arrange a session further north to try to catch people from WDSR and maybe KMSR. Depends of how many people are willing to commit to the training and get their paperwork in ahead of time.
I think that Trail Patrol might be useful out on the ice as well. Keeps the heat off a little if we have people out there keeping an eye on things. Nice liaison with the locals.
22 Dec 14
Just got off the phone with the State Cartographer asking for his expertise in reviewing some material I put together on a project we are working on in one of the counties for a trail location mapping system (reference points for emergencies and navigation).
The idea is that the uniformity of the system would allow this to go state-wide as a common system. This means it works seamlessly for trails that cross over into other counties even though they are part of a single trail system.
3 Jan 2015
Dramatic drop in motorcycle fatalities nationwide (2013 data).
4,668 fatalities in 2013 which is down from 4,986 in 2012 (6.4% decrease).
In states without helmet laws, 1,704 killed while riding without a helmet. In states with helmets laws, 150 killed riding without a helmet.
50 – 69 year old riders showed a 60% decrease in fatalities.
32,719 died in traffic accidents in 2013 (down from 33,782 the previous year).
4 Jan 2015
I logged into the Travel Wisconsin account to update the events that expired last season with the new dates for 2015. The new postings should get through the system in a few days. The events I updated include the Bucky, Field and Forest, Big Woods, and Ride for Research.
The other “place entries” for things like the TWAT, NWAT, and some other DS rides required no update.
A quick search revealed these. Not sure if I got them all in this search as I didn’t spend much time on it. There are a lot of restrictions as to what can go on the web site. Has to meet a bunch of criteria (understandably) otherwise it would get out of control.
The Bucky, Ride for Research, Big Woods, and Field and Forest postings from last year expired and are being updated this week to this year’s dates.
12 Jan 2015
State Trails Council Meeting today. Made it a point to report more on the huge popularity of ice riding.
Another user group brought up an issue in Forest County. I did a little research afterward. It looks like some may be proposing some limitations to motorized recreation in their update to their recreation plan.
Some of you may remember that I took some steps to ensure we were properly represented the last time they updated their rec plan some years back. Whatever limitations are being kicked around now are backlash to the motorized park issue. I’ll check it out with a contact I have there and report back if there is a problem.
I did find some reference to it on the WORVPI web site but it doesn’t really say much.
“Many of the proposed amendments would make it virtually impossible to operate an MRA on county forest. Further, several proposed amendments would negatively impact current trail riding opportunities. The rationale behind several of these proposals escapes WORVPI. It would greatly enhance our ability to address any concerns and provide additional information if we were enlightened as to the decision process which went into the proposed amendments. Hopefully, the thought process and a detailed explanation will be forthcoming from the Forest County Forestry & Recreation Department.”
13 Jan 2015
And on the media front, the Oconomowoc newspaper has a photo spread on ice riders in the area.
Ice Riders Enjoy Local Hot Spot
I notice they refer to ice “racing” instead of “riding”.
13 Jan 2015
I contacted Forest County to inquire about what was posted on the WORVPI web page.
Several others involved with the proposed park had already done the same.
Apparently what I viewed on the WORVPI web site is not quite accurate. There is no movement to shut out motorized recreation there.
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In fact, Forest County is planning to open their county ATV trail to OHM (it is open now for WDSR events).
The Forester also offered to speak on our behalf as I work with some other area counties to get their trails open to us.
Further, he agreed to make a presentation to the State Trails Council on their positive experience opening their State trails to OHM and horses in addition to the other uses that previously existed.
15 Jan 2015
Been putting a lot of time into this project for marking trail locations like intersections for navigation and emergency purposes. Managed to connect with some experts that have years invested in this. Pretty excited about it all. Planning a presentation in April to pitch a uniform system for Wisconsin that counties can become part of over time. It looks like we could get one county up and running with this later this year.
Edit: I see a test program is going into a couple of MN NS counties.
21 Jan 2015
Meeting in NE WI about a mapping project. Presented the concepts of a standard grid. Lots of resistance to change. Pretty typical. After about two hours or arguing and exhausting all the reasons people could think of why it won’t work, got consensus to proceed as initially presented.
Nothing new. Spent a good portion of my career studying and managing change. Seems like it is textbook each time you have to grind through the process.
Gotta love that this is all volunteer work. I’m supposed to be retired. 😀
23 Jan 2015
Logged into a national meeting on implementing the US National Grid as the standard as prescribed by the federal government. Very uplifting to hear the work being done by informed professionals. Proud to be working on this issue for Wisconsin. Nice to be in a meeting about it that isn’t a firefight. 😀
This is a good thing for our recreational interest.
Edit: A presenter there just mentioned me by name regarding the initiative here involving trails. Nice that we are significant on a national scale.
26 Jan 2015
I have two presentations scheduled in the next few weeks with two different counties about getting their trail systems opened up to dual sports.
I have some developed some support from people in the right places, but one can never anticipate who will show up to argue against it.
We’ll see how it goes. I’ve learned that things take time but staying after it, even in the face of opposition, pays off.
5 Feb 2015
Briefed a county board committee in Oconto County about further expanding our access on their county trail system.
I asked the economic development director to come in and speak on our behalf.
Despite being well prepared and making some compelling arguments, the panel seemed more concerned about what the ATV club has to say about it.
I pointed out that the ATV club was one stakeholder, that they were an important stakeholder, and that given access we wanted to become part of the club so we could participate in the maintenance contract the county has with them. I also pointed out that the investment to create an attraction (the trail system) uses county land and that other stakeholders should benefit from that use as well.
The other stakeholders include the business community that should be benefitting from increased tourism that comes from maximizing the use of the trail system.
Also, the motorcyclists that live or have vacation property in the county that are being denied access to the trail system built on their public land need to be regarded as a stakeholder as well.
They are going to bring in the ATV clubs from the area. I’ll go back to represent us at that meeting. I’m going to need some help finding people that are business owners to write a letter or appear at the meeting in our favor. Also need some help locating some property owners there that ride dual sports that can write a letter or appear at the meeting to point out that they being excluded from the use of a good portion of the trail system on their public land.
There are other factors and issues that I have to deal with that I don’t really want to cover here.
It is difficult to move for a permanent ruling so I have been asking for a two year test program. We’ll see.
Right after that meeting I drove an hour across the county to participate in another meeting as part of a county council I am on pertaining to their trails.
Needless to say, it was a long day and by the time I got home last night I was pretty weary for a variety of reasons.
9 Feb 2015
I spent a couple days with the snowmobile folks as part of a VIP orientation of their recreational interest and all that is behind it. Always informative and interesting. Good to touch base with some contacts too. We’ll need to organize something like this once we are up and running to reach out to legislators and the like.
11 Feb 2015
Made a presentation to officials in Florence County today. Proposed opening the entire ATV trail system to dual sports. Went pretty well. More to do on it with the club there. The economic development person told me she wanted to work with me on it. It would be good for area businesses for sure. We’ll see I guess.
17 Feb 2015
We need to get some riders qualified as Trail Patrollers so we can get credit for self-policing miles and activity. Demonstrating self-policing through this program goes a long way toward helping us expand our access to riding opportunities around the state. Please take the time to get qualified and participate in the Trail Patrol program.
Training will be conducted on 22 Mar 15 at the Delafield Meet and Greet.
18 Feb 2015
Meeting in Oconto County today. Working with them on a project regarding their trail signage location marking.
Talked with the Forestry and Parks guy. Word is out to the local ATV clubs about OHM access to the remaining part of their trail system that isn’t already open to us. Clubs are polling their members so they can report back to the County Board committee.
19 Feb 2015
They were going do something with it on March 4th. I saw the Forester and the Chairman of the committee this week. However, the ATV clubs want to take the issue to their members and they won’t be able to do that prior to the March 4th meeting. The issue won’t be decided until the April meeting at the earliest.
What I was asking for was a two year trial to open the remaining portion of their ATV trail system that is not already open to us. A compromise might be to open the state trail that connects to Forest County (which I got Forest County to open up to us a few years ago) as part of a test with an eye toward doing the rest once our sticker program is in place. There is a lot more to all this that is best discussed elsewhere.
The portion of the Oconto County ATV trail that is in the National Forest is already open to use. I have some GPS tracks published with rides that use some of those segments.
I might add that the economic development people that work so hard to get more people to come to the county to boost business there really like this proposal.
20 Feb 2015
Here are some things I cover. We can talk about other things when I see you next time. I point out that the trails use public land and that they are an investment that the county made to create an attraction that should benefit multiple stakeholders. Those stakeholders include the business people that should be benefitting from increased tourism as a result of this investment of county land. County economic development people are constantly working to get more tourist traffic. We are a group that is ready to go right now simply by flipping the “OK switch”. I also point out that residents that are motorcyclists are also stakeholders that should not be denied access to the public land. I emphasize that motorized users are the same family and that many ATV and snowmobile riders are also motorcyclists. I emphasize that not being able to ride in mixed groups (families on ATVs and bikes) means that families go elsewhere with their recreation dollars. They point out that clubs bring the money and that we would be riding for “free”. I point out that other groups are allowed on the trails that don’t have a sticker program, that we do contribute to trails via federal gas taxes returned under the Rec Trail Program, and that we are soon going to have a sticker program of our own that will allow payments to support trails. Sometimes I have to answer concerns that we would cause excessive wear and berming on the trails and that it would be a huge safety issue to mix conveyances. Don’t bother commenting on those, I cover all that. I also point out that many of the ATV trails in the state are already open to dual sport and there are no significant problems there. In a county that has part of their trail system on federal land, I point out that a portion of their trail system is already open to us without any problems and opening the remaining portion is a small step that makes sense since there would be a uniform set of rules for the entire system. Some people with wisdom tell me that when ATVs first showed up the snowmobile people said all kinds of stuff about them as well. There are a lot more issues and points I deal with, but you get the idea.
23 Feb 2015
Working with one county’s economic development office today. Just wrote a paper that they can use with their Chamber of Commerce to encourage them to promote our recreational interest in that county. Economic development and business people tend to support our interests.
4 Mar 2015
Contacted the Vilas County Board Chairman to let him know that we want the new ATV trails open to dual sports (so this does not get overlooked).
Edit: Looks like I’ll need to go up there for a meeting.
RATHER THAN DUPLICATE ISSUES AND SEGMENTS HERE FROM MY ORIGINAL BLOG ON ISSUES, LET ME REFER YOU TO THE LINK THERE INSTEAD. THE REASON IS THAT THERE IS INTERACTION THERE WHERE I ANSWER COMMENTS AND CONCERNS THAT I AM NOT CAPTURING HERE. This link takes you to where I left off here: [URL=”http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/wisconsin-ohm-ds-motorcyclists-tra…“]
In January I took over as President of the Wisconsin Off-Highway Motorcycling Association. I created a Facebook page for the association at that time to make it a little easier for people to connect to get upates like those I have been posting here and elsewhere. I invite you to connect with the WOHMA Facebook page to get updates via that format. [URL=”https://www.facebook.com/WISOHM/?ref=bookmarks“]