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Council weighs year-round ATV routes

Shelley Nelson

Superior may expand its ordinance allowing all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles to travel along a designated route through the city to a year-round opportunity.

The move follows the successful implementation of winter trails and takes lessons learned into account.

Councilor Craig Sutherland proposed the all-season opportunities for people to enjoy the city during a recreational ride in the city.

“When we can attract tourism to our city, everyone gains — put some heads in beds when it comes to hotels and it’s great for small business,” Sutherland said. “We’ve had a lot of support on this from businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and clubs.”

While some routes through the city would only be open in the winter because of wetlands, routes would still allow ATV and UTV operators to travel through the city, and would tie into county trails, he said.

However, the city’s ordinance would vary slightly from what is allowed on trails under state law.

Sutherland said while the city would adopt the state law there are some provisions that would not be allowed on city streets — where the routes would run.

ATV regulations don’t expressly prohibit passengers from riding with an open container, and a certified rider with a suspended or revoked driver’s license can still use an ATV on trails, neither would be allowed under the ordinance the city is considering adopting, Sutherland said. ATV and UTV operators would be required to have a valid driver’s license, and open containers would not be allowed.

“We do not want to do that in the city limits,” Sutherland said.

The ordinance would also address noise, prohibiting exhaust systems that exceed noise levels designed by manufacturers.

“I am super in favor of this,” Councilor Tylor Elm said. “I just remember the concerns that came up last time.”

Councilor Esther Dalbec said a number of those concerns were raised by people who hadn’t seen a single machine, just the signs marking the route.

Despite that, concerns about routes in alleys are being addressed. All the year-round routes run on city streets, not alleys.

The measure garnered the support of the Council’s Public Works and Public Safety committees last week.  

Sutherland said his goal is to inform the public on the affected routes with a mailing and some door knocking in affected areas before the ordinance moves forward to the City Council at 6:30 p.m. July 17 in Room 201 of the Government Center.