David Staber: Vote no on the Lafayette ATV/UTV referendum

David Staber: Vote no on the Lafayette ATV/UTV referendum

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On April 2, Lafayette voters will see a referendum question on the ballot: Should all roads in Lafayette be opened for ATV/ UTV traffic. This is an advisory question, passage or defeat does not mean any additional roads will or won’t be open to ATV/UTV traffic.

The town board can only control what is allowed on township roads and have no control if Chippewa County will or won’t allow traffic on county roads. If you look at a map of Lafayette it is almost impossible to get to any point in the township without traveling on a county controlled road, making it next to impossible to create a route to any destination without county approval.

ATVs/UTVs were never designed for a quick trip to the grocery store or tavern, they are intended for off-highway use trail riding with occasional use on a route to access a trail system. The following two paragraphs are from the DNR website regarding ATV/UTV use.

"Do not assume that you can ride on or next to roads (ditches) the same way snowmobilers do. These general allowances do not exist for ATV/UTV operation. Operation on and around public roads is restricted and, in most cases, illegal. There is no residential access allowance that permits you to ride on a roadway from a dwelling to the nearest trail or route. You will need to haul your machine to the nearest legal access point.

Any conservation warden, officer of the state patrol or inspector, county sheriff or municipal peace officer may enforce ATV/UTV laws. The fines for violating these laws range from $150 to $2,000. You could also face up to one year in jail. Most of the ATV/UTV laws are safety related. Violating these laws oftentimes endangers others and reflects negatively on the entire ATV/UTV community."

My recommendation is to vote no on the April 2 referendum question and allow your township board to work with the local ATV club and Chippewa County Highway Dept to provide ATV/UTV routes that we feel are safe and necessary to access the Wisconsin ATV/UTV trail system.


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