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Douglas County panel disallows ATVs on portion of County Highway Y

The goal of the exemption is to align highway, park policy for all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicle use.

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Douglas County's forestry committee approved exempting a stretch of County Highway Y from an ordinance that allows ATV and UTV use on county highways.
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SUPERIOR — Douglas County is tweaking its all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicle ordinance to match county policy disallowing use of the motorized recreational vehicles in county parks.

The forestry committee approved exempting a stretch of County Highway Y from the ordinance that allows ATV and UTV use on county highways. The section runs from the between the Chief Kabemabe Scenic Overlook to the Gordon Dam campground.

“The highway department is planning on repaving this section next year,” said Jon Harris, director of natural resources and forestry. He said currently, most people assume the county highway ends at the entrance of the park because of the lack of maintenance in the past.

County Highway Y runs through the park and ends at the Gordon Dam.

Harris said in talking to the sheriff’s office, he learned that individuals wouldn’t be cited for operating in the park because they are legally operating on the county road.

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The exemption would change that and align the highway policy with the park policy by prohibiting use of motorized recreational vehicles past the park entrance.

Harris said people riding ATVs and UTVs would still be able to access the restaurant in the area.

“I just wonder, do we want to restrict access, especially when on the other side of the county we’re trying to open more access?” said Supervisor Steven Long.

Harris said the forestry committee will have to revisit the issue, anticipated this winter, to determine if they want to allow access at any or all of the campgrounds. However, he said until that decision is made, disallowing highway use within the Gordon Dam Park is necessary the policies conflict.

If approved by the transportation and infrastructure committee and the county board, Harris said the highway will be posted to notify ATV and UTV riders that use of the highway ends at the scenic overlook.

The transportation and infrastructure committee considers the exemption when it meets at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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As reported by Douglas County Circuit Court.