08/01/2019- For a little more than a year, ATV use has been permitted on select portions of Marinette County highways, but that access could be in jeopardy following concerns about rider responsibility and safety. Highway Commissioner Eric Burmeister says he’s received numerous calls about issues like driveway damage and riders littering along the highway routes. ATVs can be big business for the local tourism industry, but Burmeister says riders still need to play by the rules.
“90%, if not more, of the riders that are utilizing our connecting routes are following the rules. It’s that small percentage that is not and it makes things difficult.”
Burmeister and other county officials met with stakeholders last week to discuss the problems and he says moving forward, there needs to be a push for increased rider education.
“Originally I thought I was going to suspend the routes- to take a time-out…but, I had a number of business people call me, a number of trail clubs call me, people coming in saying, ‘What can we do? How can we come to the table so we’re not closing the routes?’ And that’s what I was looking for- to facilitate the discussion.”
ATV access on county highways is only granted if the stretch of roadway connects two ATV trailheads or two townships where ATVs are allowed on local roads and if the route meets certain traffic and safety criteria. Burmeister says about 49 of the 360 miles of Marinette County highways are open to ATV use.