WiNN supports the coalition forming in opposition to expanded ATV use in Wisconsin

The
Wisconsin Nordic Network board of directors agreed to support the
coalition forming to oppose the expansion of ATV use on public lands
in Wisconsin. This coalition, as yet unnamed, formed as a
direct response to ATV-related environmental
damage and vandalism in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

One of our board members will attend meetings as our
representative. As a result, I feel I should publish our position as
it stands now and some explanation of why we decided to take this
action.

There is nothing inherently wrong with ATV use, and
there is nothing about ATV use that automatically means that skiers
should oppose it. There are certainly some among us who oppose ATV’s
just because they are gas guzzling power toys. There are some who
don’t have strong feelings about ATV’s at all. There are some who own
ATV’s. That’s a realistic cross section of the skier community.

It
is easy to say though that skiers have no interest in sharing ski
trails with ATV users, even if the ATV use is stopped in the winter.
The vehicles are just too damaging to the trails, a problem made much
worse in these low snow years where we try to make the best of six
inches of snow way too often. It’s also safe to say that skiers don’t
want to hear ATV’s while they ski, and that they don’t want to smell
the fumes of ATV’s. We’ve already been through that with snowmobiles,
and we don’t want to go through it again. Fortunately, with
snowmobiles we are in a different place. We have settled into a
fairly peaceful coexistence with snowmobiles. Trails are separate and
seldom meet. Seldom does a snowmobile go on an adrenaline laced
rampage over an off limits ski trail. The bar fights are over. But it
wasn’t always that way, and our view is that the ATV community is
much more like the snowmobile community of old, than the snowmobile
community of today. The snowmobile community has grown up. The ATV
community– that’s questionable.

It seems to us that right now the
ATV community is still finding its way in the world. On one side, you
have groups of riders who want expanded trail use. They want to go
fast and they want to have point to point trail rides. They want what many of them
used to do on snowmobiles, but because of the global warming and
climate change that’s officially not happening here, are no longer able to do:
go on long trail rides. ATV use on trails demands lots of maintenance
work because the vehicles are pretty hard on the terrain. Snowmobiles
travel on frozen ground, and by spring an awful large amount of the
damage done is gone. As a result snowmobiles have gotten trail access
to lots of private land. Private landowners want nothing to do with
ATV riders and this puts the pressure on public land stewards to
accept ATV use, and in our view puts pressure to accept too much ATV use
on our public lands.

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