Promoting quiet recreation in Wisconsin.
Opposing the coming attempts to sell off Wisconsin's natural heritage.
Fighting denial about climate change. When are we hitting the streets?

Monday, February 28, 2005

One more paranoid thought...

If the DNR wanted to research the effects of ATV trails, why does it need to develop an "experimental trail" in Vilas County? There are a number of trails already located in the state on which to do research.


waiting for the media buzz...

quietnorth has been wondering if the news media will pick up on this ATV story. I hope the story isn't anti-DNR but focuses on the pressure the DNR is under to develop a trail system in spite of the wishes of most people. I think the DNR itself is doing a good job in very difficult circumstances. Let me know if you hear anything! I am expecting a wave of reporting any moment now...


Sunday, February 27, 2005

Discussion with Mr. Leith...

I had an interesting conversation with Dennis Leith, NHAL Forest Superintendent this afternoon.
-Mr Leith stated that he IS looking for a place in Vilas County for an experimental ATV trail.
-The DNR is experiencing a great deal of pressure from ATV groups and from people in power.
-Mr. Leith says the trail will not connect directly with any local towns.
-I told him my basic concerns: That we still don't have a handle on snowmobile noise, and that snowmobile clubs are resisting what seem to me to be eminently reasonable proposals to limit noise . I also mentioned the strong opposition of the people in Vilas County to ATV trails, and the fact that the DNR is already stretched thin.
-Mr. Leith seemed sympathetic to my concerns. He is obviously dealing with what he calls the "most contentious issue" in what he feels is the only responsible way he can. I think, though, that an experimental trail is the proverbial "camel's nose in the tent". I have the following questions:

-Who will determine the standards of the experiment? In other words, under what conditions will the trail be considered a failure or success? Who develops the standards, and who provides the evaluation?
-If the experimental ATV trail is deemed a failure, will that signify an end to the DNR's development of ATV trails in the NHAL state forest?
-If the experimental ATV trail is deemed a success, will that signify further development of ATV trails in the NHAL state forest?
-Finally, what input will local communities have in the development and planning of this trail, and the evaluation of its success or failure?

quietnorth wants to know. I hope someone reading this will help find the answers-if I find anything out, I will let you know....

Friday, February 25, 2005


Things are getting curiouser and curiouser....

I reached Tim Miller, who is the DNR ATV task force person Joel quoted in the article...Mr. Miller said he didn't know for sure where the trail was, but affirmed that there was a trail....Suffice it to say I am worried... He did say this was in the planning stages as part of the DNR's Master Plan, but I am unable to find it in the online version of the Master Plan ( The only ATV trail in the NHAL listed there is the ATV link in Mercer-but I thought that had already been "developed".

So I tried to email the good people at ECCOLA via the email address at their website and I got back a "returned-mailbox full message"-no better luck with the phone number. Can anyone help me out? Perhaps I am having a bad dream...


Have we won the battle but lost the war?

Just got the March issue of Silent Sports. Joel Patenaude wrote an article titled "Wisconsin DNR to Scrutinize ATV Trail Proposals".

Does anyone know about the "experimental ATV trail" being developed in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest? Was this done under the radar, or did we anti-ATV people turn off our radar after the referendum?

I will try to find out more about this and report. I admittedly haven't been in the loop, but this surprised me.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Vilas County: The Quiet County?

Before the ATV referendum, Dennis McCann (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) suggested that Vilas County call itself "The Quiet County." On quietnorth's recommended reading list...

Friday, February 11, 2005


The purpose of this blog? I enjoy silent sports in Vilas County, Wisconsin: Cross country skiing, biking, canoeing, hiking, and most of all, sitting around outdoors listening to nature. I think those of us who enjoy silent sports are sometimes too quiet when it comes to promoting our sports and our interests.

I just haven't seen much online promoting these interests. Environmentally Concerned Citizens of the Lakeland Area (Eccola) has a web site, with some action announcements, links, and essays, but the news seems a little dated. Northwoods Citizens for Responsible Stewardship, the organization that played such an active role in the ATV referendum, seems to have lost its online presence. This blog won't replace those advocacy sites, but I am hoping it will help further discussion and dialogue.

So what will you find here? A little bit of reflection and journaling, relevant news, and links to sites of interest.

A bit of preemptive disclosure, to head off flaming:
-I am not against snowmobiles, though I am against unnecessary snowmobile NOISE.
-I do not make my living in Vilas County (though it is my place of residence). I did grow up in the area, and I know that tourism (including snowmobiling and other currently "noisy sports") make up an important part of the economy. The best solutions to environmental issues will be "win-win" solutions that both improve the environment and increase tourism dollars.

If you have any news, links, or items of interest, please feel free to let me know in a comment.