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Updated: Committee adopts new ATV routes on county highways

An ATV rides on the trail along US Hwy 2 near Wentworth this past summer. Jed Carlson /

Douglas County’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved five stretches of county highway that could be designated for ATV use.

The approved sections include County Highway AA (Business Highway 53 and County Highway A (and Sjoberg Road) in Solon Springs; County Highway A from Jersett Road to Jackson Drive; County Highway A from East Tower Fire Lane to Empire Wilderness Road; County Highway B from Wild Rivers Trail to Okerson Road; County Highway E from Middle River to Rockmount roads; and a 4.7-mile stretch of County Road M from West Crotte Brook Road to State Highway 35.

The committee decided to delay a decision that would have opened a route on County Highway W from State Highway 105 to Irondale Road in Oliver.

“They are in the midst of a referendum on the ballot,” Supervisor Dan Corbin said. “I haven’t seen the referendum so I’m not exactly sure what it says … but if we approve that without the village being open, it could cause a lot of headaches — people not knowing where they can go.”

In July, the Oliver Village Board adopted a resolution approving an advisory referendum to be placed on the ballot April 3 to determine “Should the Village Board allow all village streets to be used as ATV and UTV routes?”

Corbin said when the matter was discussed with the Village Board, they discussed tabling the matter until the referendum is decided.

Supervisor Pat Ryan represents the area. She said after talking to Village President Gary Abraham, he told her he would be comfortable approving it contingent on the referendum.

Ryan said there was opposition until the referendum came about. She supported referring the matter to a future date, when the outcome of the referendum is known.

The panel tabled the motion for consideration at a later date, once the village board makes a decision on whether to open village roads to ATVs and UTVs.

The Douglas County Board considers approving the routes at its Jan. 18 meeting.

Ryan said opening the route on County Road W should be contingent on the village’s decision on opening its roads.