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?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Presque Isle Pedalers fundraiser this weekend...

There is a special BIKE TRAIL fundraising event coming to our
community(Presque Isle/Winchester) this Saturday, Sept 22, at the
Lake Lodge, located on Hwy W, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. All proceeds
this event will go to the Presque Isle and Winchester Bike Trail
Great food including unlimited specialty hors d'oeuvres, unlimited
tasting(8 different kinds) and unlimited wine tasting(over 23 kinds)

along with special raffle items will all be available for your
A donation of $35 per person will give you an evening of fun with
friends and neighbors along with showing support for clean, quiet
in the northwoods.
The Birch Lake Lodge supports our efforts to build bike trails in
communities and have prepared this event for us.

This message is coming from the "Presque Isle Pedalers", organized

solely for promotion of and funding for a community bike trail.
Thank you for your support of our efforts.

Margo Perkins

Joel Patenaude: ATV's and the Badger State Trail

Click the link above. Another example of why silent sports folks need to be more 'heads up" Joel is the publisher of Silent Sports Magazine, and this seems a good time to plug his new blog again: Silent Sports Sounds Off (see my recommended links section)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Impact on Other User Groups" part two

Unfortunately, the Stakeholder's group never clearly spelled out how a negative impact to other user group would be measured. ATV supporters act like the schoolyard bully who punches you on the arm-"Why are you crying? I can't feel anything!" Since they don't see noise as a problem, they don't see why anyone else should see it as a problem. But if the following isn't an adverse impact to a user group, what would be?

The money for the immensely popular bicycle trails come from Highway funds, so often, they run along Country Roads. Much of the time, even along those stretches, a rider can enjoy breaks from the road noise. Traffic comes and goes. But the really great moments happen when the trail, for one reason or another, goes OFF of the County highways. Then, a biker can experience the true quiet of the northwoods.

There is only one significant stretch on the bike trail between St. Germain and Sayner where this happens-just south of Sayner to Highway C. Coincidentally, that is exactly where the bike trail will intersect with an ATV trail. In other words, if the ATV trail is developed, there will be NO section free of motorized vehicle noise on this significant stretch of trail.

So why doesn't that constitute adverse impact to a user group?

The pleasure of waysides....

I have a question: How many people a year stop at the wayside on the Manitowish River on their way to somewhere else? Waysides, even when not far from a highway, tend to be little islands of calm on a long trip, or a place for people who can't go far from their cars to enjoy a bit of the northwoods. Waysides are ambassadors, in a sense, to the traveling public.

If "interfering with other user groups" means anything, won't building an ATV bridge at at a wayside constitute significant disruption to a user group? ATV supporters say "it doesn't matter, there is a road there anyway", but the road is on one side of the wayside. You will be taking away any last vestige of peace the wayside can offer.

ATV "Trail Ambassadors" to police the proposed NHAL trail?"

According to one ATV supporter on Wisconsin Public Radio, that is what will happen. Self-policing worked wonderfully in reducing snowmobile noise, and and motorcycles have become much quieter with self-enforcement (does sarcasm come over the computer well?)

The trail proposed here is much too large for any self policing (And that is assuming ATV's stay on the trail.) Especially by an organization that really doesn't particularly think it has a problem.

So, the DNR says it won't have significant resources for enforcement. And we know that self enforcement is a joke. So by opening up these trails, we will be opening up the entire NHAL forest to unauthorized trail riding, and to people buying easy-to-acquire loud exhaust systems. Look in any ATV magazine to see what I am talking about.

Communities legislate against noisy motorcycles

Nothing proves the inablity of motor sports to regulate themselves more than the ever-increasing din of motorcycles. With all of the motorcycles in the northwoods this last weekend, did you notice how many had overly loud exhaust pipes? My guess is there was plenty of opportunity to have those folks confronted and shunned. I bet it never happened once.

Whether its snowmobiles, cars, ATV's or motorcycles, we need active enforcement by people who have the power to fine and confiscate.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

From Merrill Horswill-UP sulfide process mine

Hi Folks,
I’m in Marquette, MI, where people here fighting a
Kennecott sulfide process mine (remember Ladysmith?)
where copper and nickel have been found under the
headwaters of the Salmon-Trout River, which empites
into Lake Superior and is home to reproducing
endangerd brook trout. Thie proposed mine entrance is
in the Escanaba State Forest , which the state is
planning to lease to Kennecott (this is unprecidented)
andvery near the McCormick Wildnerness. The sulfide
mine would have a 50 ft stack emitting 20 tons of
sulfide dust per year and pollute lakes, rivers and
groundwater with acid runoff thruout the area.The Dept
of Environ. Quality is attempting to rubber stamp this
application and is having hearings right now.
According to the EPA Kennecott, which is foreign owned
by Rio Tinto, is the largest polluter in the US.
You can help this fight by simply taking a poll at
Channel TV6 News. Naturally the question is much more
complicated than jobs (about 75 short-term) vs. the
environment, but that’s how they framed it. Right now
jobs are wining. Please vote for the environment asap
(don’t know how long the poll will be up) and send
this email to anyone you think would too. For more
info go to
And we think ATVs are bad!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Responding to ATV supporters...

Hello, everyone;

I am going to respond to some of the better points made by some ATV supporters who have been posting. I think they have had a great deal of space to lobby their views, so in the future I will moderate the posts that seem to make repetitive or unnecessary points. Supporters who want to promote their views more than they have are free to start their own blogs. It really is free!

There are two main problems with ATV's in the NHAL forest. There is the problems that will happen IF all ATV users use the trail as designed, and the problems that will be created if 10 percent use the trail in unauthorized ways.

I want to address the second point first, because many supporters said there is something different about ATV users than motorcycle users and snowmobile users. There will be no "ten percent" problem. But I really dont think that there is any evidence that this is true. I have talked to and listened to officials in charge of areas that have ATV trails, and they report frequent damage to off-trail areas. What disturbs me is that the ATV industry is marketing to the kinds of people who AREN"T likely to follow the rules. And noone from the ATV side expressed any concern that this is a problem.

One of the posters suggested that ATV's could be made to follow the rules through enforcement. But the DNR has said they don't have new resources for further enforcement. If you are talking about "self enforcement", we are back to where we were with snowmobile noise. And look how well motorcyclists are doing with 'self enforcement" of exhaust systems. (I have to believe that the police don't make this any sort of priority). One poster said a majority of Utility ATVs have stock mufflers. But there is no law that only utility ATV's will be goig through the quiet portions of the NHAL forest. My guess is that ATV's are going to get faster and louder as they can get away with, just as snowmobiles did and motorcycles are doing.

My personal experience with ATV noise: Experience one: A person on the other side of my small lake had an ATV that obviously wasn't mufflered properly. Experience two: A relative loaned me his properly mufflered ATV to do some work on my property (very handy, by the way.) Experience three: On a trip to the UP, we were on a beach along Lake Superior near an ATV trail. At least two of a string of 6 or 7 ATV's had very loud exhaust systems. So far, we are well over the "10 percent" mark.

My real concern is that the trend could get worse before it gets better. Why? Because the ATV industry knows that a significant number of people will buy these machines for the competition factor. There are probably many people, like the supporters who posted to this blog, who see ATV's as a gentle way to drift along quietly through the woods seeing the sites, but I don't suspect that is where the industry sees the growth potential.

More to follow.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Wisconsin Public Radio Report this morning...(scroll down for the transcript)

One problem is that the story was framed as a user group versus "environmentalists and conservationists". I suspect that many more people are against the trail than "environmentalists"

I though the comment by an ATV proponent, made in the original story but not fully quoted in the transcript, was revealing. Listening to the broadcast, He said ATV's have to be "trailered" out of the county now. That phrase struck me as very revealing. After all, if we are only talking about a couple of trails in the whole county, won't nearly everyone have to "trailer" their ATV to the new trails anyway? What is revealed is important: My guess is that some ATV users are really imagining being able to drive their ATV's out of their yards, onto town roads, and into the forest to get to the new trails. We are looking at a "snowmobile trail" system for ATV's. Or, some ATV users will be riding the forests that way, anyway, creating a "de facto" trail system throughout the forest.

No time for responding right now to the good natured replies I have been getting. I will get back to you soon!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

ATV's and Tourism

I have talked about this before as well. When I grew up in Vilas County, my family owned a summer business that was dependent on tourism, so I am sensitive to the economic argument. Don't we want to welcome all potential recreation?

(By the way, to answer one question, I don't make my money in Vilas County, but I bring it there, along with 40 or 50 guests each year around who come to appreciate the quiet. We spend a lot of money in restaurants and stores, but we don't wear helmets or outfits to identify ourselves)

My answer is that some kinds of recreation can be "folded in" to the current mix without detracting from the tourist industry that exists, and some can't. (Horseback riding and geocacheing, for example) . IF the ATV trails are as busy as the backers claim they will be, it will certainly detract from other people's experience, and they will prefer to go somewhere else to get their peace and quiet.

Now, here is the final point: There ARE other places to ride ATV's. There are very FEW places like the Star Lake-Sayner area or the Manitowish River, to be enjoyed in relative peace.

Friday, September 07, 2007

One more point about snowmobiles before I get flooded...

Those of you who have read this blog all along will know that I am NOT OPPOSED to snowmobiles or snowmobiling, I will own one myself someday soon . I am against excessive snowmobile noise, and the culture of noise that makes it OK to punk the northwoods and its residents. I often cross snomwobile trails when skiing, so I know how quiet snowmobiles CAN be. The fact that many aren't quiet means somewhere between "a few" and "a lot of" people are choosing to have loud machines.

Good reading...

Hello, everyone;

I've been locked into work things the past couple of weeks, so I haven't had a chance to post. I see ATV supporters have made some interesting replies to my last post. I encourage you all to read them, I will respond later. On the whole, there are some good points, some bad points, many "missed points", and one personal threat, offered I hope, in jest.

I will respond later to some of the arguments, but the last one seems important. Yes, there IS a decibel limit on ATV's, just as there is on snowmobiles, but in winter you can hear snowmobiles in nearly every corner of Vilas County. Is this what we want in summer?

Snowmobile noise is a result of speed and popular after market mufflers The DNR has only begun to try to get snowmobile speed and noise under control in Vilas County, lets give the experiment a couple of years before we introduce another noisemaker.

I agree with all of the posters that most ATVers are good, responsible people, just like everyone else that uses the northwoods. I don't hold the same for ATV manufacturers, who are just in it for selling more vehicles to whoever will buy them. They know there is a big "racing and mudding market". They don't have the family recreational ATVer's interests at heart, any more than they do when they turned snowmobile trails into winter racetracks.