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?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Link for ATV discussion program

Hello, everyone;

If you missed last Thursday's program, Rick Reyer (WPR's Central Wisconsin Regional Manager) just sent a link:

I haven't had a chance to listen yet. Any more story sightings?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Alert: Radio program on ATV's and rec trails today

Dear nonmotorized trail supporters,A discussion about a controversial proposal to allow ATVs in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest -- within Vilas County, where a clear majority of residents voted last year to prohibit ATVs on county land -- will take place on Wisconsin Public Radio station WHRM, 90.9 FM, at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 17.The guests will include NHAL State Forest Superintendent Dennis Leith and Mark Parman, bicycling columnist for Silent Sports magazine and an experienced mountain bike trail builder.Feel free to call in Thursday with your thoughts about sustainable recreational trails and ATVs being allowed on public lands. See for further details.Sincerely,Joel Patenaude

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A true experiment....

No magic snow this last week-oh, well, if it happened every winter, it wouldn't be magic. But my daughter and I did ski the section of the Lumberjack trail that runs by White Sand mean hill climb that rises above the snowmobile trail, then you ski under big white pines rising above balsam-then White Sand opens out below you. Next you thread your way among the red pines along the steep slope...beautiful! We scared up some ruffed grouse there (or they scared us up!)

Everything was perfect BUT...the sound of snowmobiles was everpresent. I don't mean a low background hum, I mean some insane NASCAR screaming. People tell me with a straight face that snowmobiles are quieter now. I have been cross country skiing in the area for over 35 years, and all I can tell is that the noise has changed from "angry hornet" to "demented banshee wailing". My apologies to banshees.

I know there ARE quieter snowmobiles, because I have been surprised by them when I cross a trail. Two curves, and you hear them no more. But this means excessive snowmobile noise is no longer a necessary consequence of snowmobiling, it is a performance choice of a good many snowmobilers. The snowmobile lobby has fought reasonable noise restrictions, and snowmobile clubs are obviously not doing any "self policing".

Lets draw an analogy to ATV trails in Vilas County. The proposal: ATV enthusiasts will help "monitor" the "experimental trail". We should be very afraid of the success of such an artificial experiment. I suggest another experiment: Have skiers do "sound checks" each year from their favorite trails. Lets see whether the enthusiasts of one motorized sport can become good neighbors before we introduce another.

Vilas County News-Review wins prize!

Here is the first article on the proposed ATV trail I have seen in the press. I think this is an excerpt:

Unfortunately, it doesn't say much-and doesn't present the trail as problematic in any way. We have our work cut out for us. By the way, Sue Drum has a great letter on the Sustainable Forestry Plan in this edition of the paper...

Alert! ATV topic on WPR

email from Sue Drum:

"Hi everyone.

ATV trail discussion is back concerning trail development in NHAL state forest and Nicolet Nat. Forest. I'm not sure how the ATV topic will be slanted but it will be discussed on Dave Burkeman (sp?) talk show, this Thursday, March 17th, at 5:00 pm on WHRM, 90.3 FM out of Park Falls. - also called the Ideas Network- which may be available in other locations on FM. If you can, please listen and call in your opinion on ATV trails. Sue Drum"

Monday, March 07, 2005

Magic Skiing...

I am hoping that all of the pieces are in place for some magic skiing this week. Start with a day or two of melt, then follow with a good freeze, then a dusting of snow on top for traction. The result? Magic skiing! Freed from trails, the whole forest is yours to glide through without effort or noise...

Planning Meeting Date....

According to Dennis Leith, public meetings on the proposed plan will be held the first week of May. The meetings will be held in Boulder Junction, Wausau, Appleton, and Madison. I hope we can have folks at these meetings. I will post the specific times when they come up.

By the way, I wanted to mention that Dennis Leith has been very thoughtful in responding to queries about this issue.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Here it is!

From the DNR's progress report on the Northern Highland American Legion Forest Master Plan:
"Proposals are currently undergoing internal review to develop final details. Completed versions will be presented for your review and scrutiny as part of the draft master plan."

"Experimental ATV recreation and outdoor education trail.
The potential for all terrain vehicle (ATV) use on the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest has been controversial throughout the master planning process.
Land managers fully recognize ATV riding as a rapidly growing sport with known issues. To address inevitable growth and demand for facilities and space, managers prefer a proactive approach - to lead by example rather than to simply accommodate. Our hope is that, together with public cooperation, we can join in a solution to a complicated resource management challenge.
Resource managers have worked determinedly to address this issue. Previous attempts to find an environmentally acceptable route to connect to the Iron Co. trail system, as proposed in the Preferred Alternative, were unsuccessful. Therefore the state forest is offering a modified approach to their previous trail proposal.
This proposal pioneers innovative management techniques, provides educational opportunities, and is as compatible as possible with existing forest management and uses. It’s goals are to demonstrate, evaluate, and promote safe and ethical motorized recreation and to integrate other recreational options.
The trail would be monitored and operated experimentally on a trial basis. An annual evaluation would measure the project’s success to determine whether the trail should continue or be terminated.
The trail location would be away from most other forest uses and sensitive zones.
One key to the success of the proposed trail would be the involvement of
recreation enthusiasts working in
partnership with Department of Natural Resources personnel. Private assistance would be needed to help secure funding, provide trail maintenance, staff trail safety patrols, and conduct education and research.
The motorized recreation and outdoor education trail would encourage family participation. It’s design would be a safe and conservative approach to accommodate a growing form of recreation."

Thanks to Ken Krall, WXPR Radio, for providing the above information. Time to think about the implications and possible responses....


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Article in Silent Sports....

Article from Silent Sports magazine on the referendum in Vilas County last year:

Thanks to Joel Patenaude, editor of Silent Sports

From Joel Patenaude-Silent Sports Magazine...

Joel Patenaude wrote...

My story in the March issue of Silent Sports, "Wisconsin DNR to scrutinize
ATV trail proposals: First application of new policy likely to keep
ATVs off rail-trail segment along Wolf River," can be found here:

Thanks, Joel-I reposted your reply here as I wasn't sure the link came through.


Media notified....

quietnorth in his first act of media notification. Lets see who responds:

Lakeland Times, Vilas County News-Review, Channel 12, Wisconsin Public Radio, WXPR, Rob Zaleski and Mike Ivey(Capital Times), Dennis McCann (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), several environmental organizations (where IS Eccola nowadays?). Please email these sources as well, maybe they need numbers to recognize that this is a story.

By the way, please feel free to comment on these posts. I'd like to know who is out there. You don't need to register.