Policy aims to make trails accessibleNearly two years ago, rules regarding the use of power-driven mobility devices in public areas went into effect in Wisconsin.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Nearly two years ago, rules regarding the use of power-driven mobility devices in public areas went into effect in Wisconsin.
Now the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission approved a policy to govern use those devices on the city’s trails to ensure access for all when it can be reasonably accommodated.
Rules adopted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice were designed with the intent of making sure that even those with disabilities that affect their mobility can enjoy Wisconsin’s public land and trails.
That could include anything from a power scooter to a 4-wheel drive truck, said Parks and Recreation Administrator Mary Morgan. She said the city evaluated its trail system and determined that there are no trails or recreation areas in the city that could accommodate a truck; however, with a permit issued by the city, other power-driven mobility devices could accommodate those with mobility disabilities on most trails at least a portion of the year.
Mobility devices such as scooters, Segways, golf carts, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and other devices weighing less than 1,000 pounds would be allowed on city trails with a permit issued by the city. Speeds along the trail would be limited to 5 mph for anyone using a power-driven mobility device.
Trails that could be used year round include the Osaugie Trail along the waterfront from F Street to Moccasin Mike Road, the Millennium Trail from Elmira to Wyoming avenues, the Grandview Estates Trail west of New York Avenue. The Crosstown Trail and some of the cross-country trails in the Superior Municipal Forest would be usable when the ground is frozen. In the forest, the use of mobility devices would end on the ski trails when the ski season begins.
No power-driven mobility devices would be allowed any time of the year on the Wisconsin Point Hiking Trail from Wisconsin Point Road to Lake Superior.
The state recognizes that some trails and recreational areas may not be appropriate for the use of power-driven mobility devices because of public safety, pedestrian volume, trail characteristics, or risk of harm to natural and cultural resources.
Trails were assessed based on the width and base of the trail, grade changes and the presence of wetlands.
Permits would be assessed on a case-by-case basis and may be issued with conditions.
Before the permits are available to the public with mobility disabilities, the council must approve the new policy.