They're at it again! I just received this call to action in my email. Please give it a look and attend the Polk County meeting this Monday!--Ben
On Monday, May 6 at 1:30 (or maybe closer to 2:00PM) ATVers will ask Polk County to open the Gandy Dancer State Trail to ATVs during times when the ground is frozen. This follows on the heals of a similar decision by Burnett County last month. I am organizing people to attend the meeting and hope you and your army are available.
If you are not able to attend you may send any comments no matter how brief to Polk County Board Chairman, William Johnson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although it is less likely that there would be serious rutting and damage to the trail by ATVs if the ground is frozen there are still concerns that the County should consider:
- Grant funds for silent sport trail maintenance and development cannot be used on a trail that allows motorized vehicles without substantial snow cover.
- Funds for ATV trail maintenance and development in Wisconsin cannot be used to repair ATV damage to a trail like the Gandy Dancer.
- ATVs will displace other user groups including Ice Age Trail Hikers that share the Gandy Dancer.
- No trail that allows motorized use and silent sport use during the same times is truly a multi-use trail. Instead it is a multi-motor trail.
- ATVs have access to two rail trails in southern Polk County. Despite being open to other users like bicyclists the ATVs leave such a loose and rutted trail surface that it makes bicycling impossible.
- ATV vandalism on and off of these trails do not create a quality trail experience for other user groups.
- Signage and fencing on these Polk County ATV trails have not been able to keep ATVs on trail. Instead ATVers are vandalizing the trail corridor including streams and wetlands in violation of Wisconsin state law.
I am optimistic that Polk County will not allow ATVs on the Gandy even if the ground is frozen but there is considerable pressure from ATVers. Those of us who appreciate the many benefits of a hiking/biking trail like the Gandy must speak up and show up.