12/18/2019- Property owners on Marinette County forest roads will need to find a private contractor to perform winter road maintenance. The issue first came to the Infrastructure Committee months ago when the Town of Stephenson notified residents on County Forest Road 1630 they’d no longer be plowing the road and those residents then asked the County to step in and take over. The Town is believed to have backed out of plowing because municipalities are prohibited from offering services that compete with private industry, but the County has it in their 15-year Forestry Plan not to plow any of the 236 miles of forest road. The Infrastructure Committee tried to find some resolution to the matter Tuesday and while it was suggested the County opt in to plowing only forest roads with permanent residents, Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison cautioned them against taking this type of selective action.
County Administrator John Lefebvre says even if the County Board and the DNR were to amend the Forestry Plan to include plowing forest roads, the majority of these roads are not designed to accommodate the county’s plow and salt trucks.
While members expressed their sympathy for the impacted residents, they also agreed there are too many legal and logistic challenges standing in the way of plowing any or all of the county forest roads. The Infrastructure Committee ultimately voted to continue to follow the County Forestry Plan and not provide winter maintenance on forest roads.