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?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Article in the Lakeland Times on the ATV trail proposal...

a good article by Kevin McCullough. Most important quote from Dennis Leith:

"We’d like to just try this out and see how it works, but we anticipate in the future that we would see a corridor trail on the forest that would go someplace and link up to Iron County or the U.P., or something like that,” according to Leith, who admitted it’s difficult to predict what the future holds for ATVs on state land."

Very clearly, this is a signal that the " loop trail" is a foot in the door to a larger trail system.

Second important quote:
“We don’t know what will happen as far as towns opening roads, crossing private property, things like that. We’d like to stay ahead of the game rather than open up a great big chunk of the forest to ATVs and then have to take that back. "

Whether or not the loop trail is stopped, we need to to anticipate the pressure on towns to open up town roads. Presque Isle's referendum probably precluded any town roads there in the near future-but what about the surrounding communities? Do we know what the mechanisms would be to opening up town roads to ATV's?

From Sue Drum

Hi everyone,
I have heard, from a reliable source, that the May 5th, Thursday, public forum in Boulder Junction, Boulder Junction Community Center, 6 to 8 P.M. will be attended by several high-up WDNR dignitaries. We must encourage as many people as possible to attend - friends, relatives, strangers. Perhaps those in charge would let me ask those opposed to ATVs to stand so we could make a statement by our presence, if we truely have one. Any ideas?

Keep passing around our on line signature address:
Since comments are taken until June 1st I plan to collect signatures until at least May 25th -in time to mail them to Dennis Leith and others. This site has not been hijacked by ATV groups. This is a free site so they must take advertising from e-bay and some ATV magazine.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Vilas County ATV petition Available for signing!

Sorry for the delay-here is the link for the petition opposing an ATV trail in Vilas County. Since this trail would be on WDNR land, it is important that we get people to sign from different parts of the state.

Also, please read Sue Drum's letter posted today....

From Sue Drum-State support needed!

Hi everyone,

We can now collect signatures against the NHAL State Forest experimental ATV loop trails on line at the following address:

I have been told that this is definately a state-wide issue and to have an impact we must get people to object to the ATV trail at each of the public forums. I have friends in Oshkosh that I will try to get to go to the May 3rd, Neenah - Neenah Public Library, also we have members in Madison that should go to the May 4th Fitchburg - Fitchburg Community Center, I have no contacts in Wausau for May 9th - Wausau Park Inn. The hearing portion runs from 6 - 8 p.m. where citizens get to express themselves. An open house starts at 3 p.m. and DNR staff will be available to answer questions, informally.

Again it is very important that you send a letter to Dennis Leith so he can prove that there is significant resistance against ATV trails in the NHAL.
Dennis Leith, Superintendent
DNR Service Center
8770 Hwy. J
Woodruff, Wi 54568 (715) 358-9225

You can view the Master Plan - go to ATV trail section for a map of proposed area.
The scheduled hearings are also listed at this site.

I have sent a Letter to the Editor at both Lakeland Times and Vils County News. Please also write letters to the editor. Kevin McCullough, Lakeland Times outdoor editor will write an editorial against the ATV trail hopefully in the Friday, April 29th issue. Keep trying to get signatures.
If you want to stop this trail it is now or never.
Good Luck! Sue Drum

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Goal Statement from Northwoods Citizens for Responsible Stewardship

P.O. Box 31 Presque Isle, Wi 54557

Goal Statement For NCRS: One Quiet County

By referendum in February, 2004, 63% of Vilas County residents voted against opening ATV trails on county lands. We also oppose the ATV “Experimental Loop” trail in the Vilas County portion of the NHAL State Forest. We realize that this 225,000-acre state forest is under stress from a rapidly growing user population, where each person feels that they have a right to use the land to suit themselves. We may all have the right to use public land, but if this fragile, wild environment is to remain healthy, no one can be given the right to degrade these lands. To include ATV trails in The Master Plan, we feel unbalances user rights by introducing a highly destructive form of recreation. Therefore our members would like to reserve one county, Vilas, for the preservation of silent sports, nature appreciation, and the intelligent care of all vital ecosystems on public lands.

We wish to promote healthy, outdoor experiences by concentrating on three important areas:

1. Environmental Health – preserve the fragile environment of many lakes, wetlands and bogs and the animal life within by eliminating All Terrain Vehicles from trails on public land because they are too powerful, too fast, too noisy, too destructive to be allowed access to natural areas.

2. Human Health – people need a serene area to escape the fast paced, motorized world, therefore allow one county, Vilas, to promote healthy outdoor exercise, in addition to clean air, clean water and natural sounds.

3. Economic Health - 87% of public land users prefer non-motorized activity. ATV riders account for only 13% of the users. Vilas County currently leads all other northern counties in total tourist dollars spent – without ATVs. Why not court the 87% to improve the economy? Why gamble that increasing ATV use may decrease tourism?

Before building more trails, may we suggest that the DNR study the current 5,000 miles of ATV trails in Wisconsin and answer the important questions:
1. Are these trails overcrowded? If not, why do we need more trails?
2. What are the cumulative effects of ATV trails on the natural resource? This investigation must extend to areas adjacent to ATV trails since designated trails are a failed experiment at containment.
Public hearing, May 5th, 6-8 p.m., Boulder Junction Community Center

Sue Drum, SecretaryNorthwoods Citizens for Responsible Stewardship

quietnorth's note: I will post a link to an online petition on Monday for those who oppose the ATV trail in the Northern Highland/American Legion forest.

Friday, April 08, 2005

From Sue Drum: Bike Trail Support

Hi everyone,

I am writing to you because I assume you are in favor of bike trails in Vilas County and the current attempt by Vilas towns to link trails throughout the entire county creating one, long, beautiful, bike ride. Debbie Heller, A Vilas County Board Supervisor, has been acting as Vilas County Bicycle Trail Coordinator for the past three years, providing information, inspiration and guidance to town bike trail committees. Charles Rayala, Vilas County Board Chairman, removed Debbie Heller, March16, as Bike Trail Coordinator, which leaves the position vacant.

Debbie Heller told me in a letter that Rayala does not feel ANY county or state dollars should be used for bike trails. In fact, he told Debbie, that he felt grants should not exist for bike trails in any form. Bike Trails, Rayala told Debbie, should be self supporting and form their own fund raising mechanism. Rayala has stated his anti-bike views at open meetings and to the media (see "Vilas County News Review, April 6, page 7A).

The Bicycle Trail Coordinator position is on the agenda to be discussed at the Legislative and Judicial Committee meeting April 13th at 9:00 a.m. at the Vilas County Courthouse in Eagle River. If you support bike trails in Vilas County please come to the meeting. This issue is also likely to be discussed at the full County Board meeting on April 19 at 9:00 a.m. in the County board conference room, lower level of the court house. If you can not attend, please contact the County Clerk's office (715) 479-3600, and your County Board Supervisor to let them know your comments and concerns on this matter.

This is not so much about saving Debbie's position as it is to oppose Charles Rayala who, I believe, is abusing his power as V.C. Chairman. After 63% of V.C. voters rejected ATV trails on county land in the Feb. 2004 election/referendum, Rayala told fellow board members to ignore the masses opposed to ATVs. His defiance against the referendum and the resulting resolution #25, prohibiting ATV's on county owned land, is now being played out as a vindictive, dishonest attack on bike trails.

Please come to both meetings to show that you will not tolerate Rayala's behavior. Six bike trails, now in the works, need your help.

Sue Drum
(715) 686-2655

Thursday, April 07, 2005

News-Review letter to read...

A very thoughtful letter written by snowmobiler Dick Rust in the Vilas County News Review dated 4/05/05.

Mr. Rust contrasts snowmobiling as a racing sport vs. a scenic sport- "Trail riding is not meant to involve riding skill and speed. That's what racetracks are for. Trail riding is meant to be relaxing, scenic and enjoyable".

I thank Mr. Rust for advocating a certain kind of snowmobiling ethic.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Quiet in the North Country...

In spite of the "muddiness", this is a great time to be in the northwoods. No snowmobiles, motor noise, etc! I enjoyed watching the stars in relative quiet...

Take a look at the front page article of the Vilas County News-Review for 3/29 titled "High Snowmo death toll calls for action". I was struck by this defense of the status quo by a member of a snowmobile organization:

“You do it for the excitement, not for fresh air. Most people know the risks and they take those risks, because this is how they have fun. I know I could get killed"

That quote says it all. Snowmobiling, for many snowmobilers, is a racing sport and has nothing to do with appreciating winter in the northwoods. For them, the northwoods is a background, akin to the scenery in a video game. I saw a bumper sticker today that said "You are being passed by an Artic Cat Bitch". It may be true that the local economy can not do without snowmobiling, but lets name what is happening for what it is: The northwoods is being "punked". Because of the money, people are afraid of setting any reasonable limits on snowmobile speed or noise.

Repost from Joel Patenaude-NHAL plan meetings set..

I am reposting this message from Joel Patenaude. The text editor "dropped" some of the punctuation and text features, but please read regarding NHAL planning meeting dates. Thanks to Joel Patenaude and Sue Drum!

Specifically regarding the proposal to develop an ATV trail in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest and the master planning process for the forest in general, I received the following information: Public meetings are set for early May, as indicated by Vilas County resident Sue Drum of Northwoods Citizens for Responsible Stewardship; all Wisconsin residents are encouraged to weigh in, according to a letter by NHAL State Forest Superintendent Dennis Leith; and there are various ways to do so, as listed at the end. All this will be included in the May issue of Silent Sports magazine. But the early dates of the meeting prompts me to send the info your way in hopes you can spread the word.

Joel Patenaude, EditorSilent Sports

NHAL plan meetings set

Thank you, Joel, for such extensive coverage of the ATV issue in Wisconsin and your strong personal interest.As you know, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resoures is proposing an 8- to 12-mile loop trail in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. Park Superintendent Dennis Leith has scheduled public hearings to take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 3 in Neenah at the Neenah Public Library, Shattuck Meeting Room; May 4 in Fitchburg at the Fitchburg Community Center, Oak Hall Room; May 5 in Boulder Junction at the Community Center; and May 9 in Wausau at theWausau Park Inn, 2101 N. Mountain Road.By their 63 percent to 37 percent vote on the February 2004 referendum, Vilas County residents showed their opposition to ATV trails in county forests. Our group, Northwoods Citizens for Responsible Stewardship, was hoping to make Vilas County known as “One Quiet County” reserved for silent sport users. We would like to promote healthy trails and waterways, meaning environmental health and human health. Vilas County – with its many lakes, wetlands and bogs – has the most fragile environment of any northern county. Due to its beauty and serenity, it also attracts the most tourist dollars (without counting the revenue generated by ATV riders) of any northern county. We would like a county that promotes human health through outdoor exercise and quiet contemplation without motor noise and fumes. Slow up! Get off your ATV and smell the flowers to relieve stress.SUE DRUMPresque Isle, WI

Help plan NHAL forest’s futureWisconsinites care deeply about the current and future use of the public forests in Wisconsin. the Northern Highland-American Legion (NHAL) State Forest is no exception. As the largest state-owned property, the NHAL is a vast and cherished part of Wisconsin’s ecological , economic and social past, present and future. The NHAL State Forest covers 225,000 acres located in Northern Wisconsin in Vilas, Oneida and Iron counties.The draft NHAL master plan is designed to inform both general and technical readers about the future use and management of the forest. I hope the information and vision in the plan will encourage enthusiasm and constructive discussion.the forest generates employment and supports the economic well being of rural and urban communities alike through the production of forest products we use daily and the recreation and tourism generated by the fantastic forest and lakes. the forest provides opportunities for a diverse array of recreation such as hiking, snowmobiling, biking and hunting, as well as the opportunity to simply sit quietly and enjoy ints natural beauty. in addition, the forest cleans our air and water, provides habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species, and helps sustain our quality of life.Virtually all elements of the forest have seen increasing demands in the last decade – demands for ecological protection, forest production and increased recreation activity. These demands have potential positive impacts – if development and use is properly planned and managed. Unplanned use and management could, however, overwhelm the NNHAL Sate Forest’s unique ability to provide ecological, economic and social benefits that are so highly valued by current risidents, visitors and businesses.How is it possible to understand all of the various dimensions of the NHAL State Forest and meet the increasing demands? What is the future of the forest and what policies will ensure its long-term sustainability?Your feedback on the plan is welcomed and encouraged. with over 225,000 acres of land in the heart of the Northwoods, Wisconsinites have a real opportunity to contribute to sustainable forestry.DENNIS LEITHNHAL State Forest SuperintendentEditor’s note: The draft master plan and environmental impact statement for the NHAL State Forest is available for public review and comment through June 1. Comments received by or on that date will be reviewed and considered by the DNR as it revises the master plan last approved in 1982. The new plan will direct how the state forest is managed for the next 15 years.The new draft plan can be viewed at Copies of the plan can be requested from Robert Dall at 715/365-8993, or by writing to the DNR Service Center, 107 Sutliff Ave., Rhinelander, WI 54501.Written comments on the plan should be sent via e-mail to or by regular mail to Leith, DNR Service Center, 8770 Hwy. J, Woodruff, WI 54568.Questions and comments can also be can be posed to the planners at the meetings listed above in Sue Drum’s letter.
10:05 AM