All-Terrain Vehicle enthusiasts will soon be able to use their vehicles on the streets of Mauston.

The Mauston Common Council approved a resolution declaring all authorized city streets could be used for ATV routes during its July 25 meeting at city hall. All streets, excluding Grayside, Union and state highways, will be open for ATV use from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. While the resolution was adopted July 25, officials would like ATV users to wait until regulatory signs are posted before using roadways in the city.

Al Morschauser, president of the Castle Rock Family ATV Club, was pleased the city is opening up more ATV options. Morschauser said he will work with Police Chief Mike Zilisch and Director of Public Works Rob Nelson to place regulatory signs in the city in the coming weeks. A route map will also be printed and displayed at city hall.

City officials noted the rise in the popularity of ATV use as a reason for adopting the resolution. Earlier this year, the Juneau County Board opened up additional roadways for ATV use and the city of New Lisbon passed a similar resolution this spring. Since the town of Lisbon has opened up its town and county roads for recreational use, ATV riders could travel from Mauston to New Lisbon as long as it’s not on state highways.

The resolution will be under a one-year trial period and, along with the time restrictions, will have the following stipulations: 1. All operators must be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver’s license. 2. All operators follow posted speed limits, yield the right of way according to the state’s rules of road, travel in single-file fashion, and obey all other traffic laws. 3. No person shall operate an ATV upon public highway, park, or any other public property. 4. No person shall operate on private property not controlled or owned by the operator without express permission of the property owner.

In addition, operators may also use ATVs on Lake Decorah in the winter, provided operation is further than 100 feet of any private property. Zilisch said ATV parking will be allowed in public lots as long as users abide by regular vehicle parking laws.

Trouble with goose droppings

Walking along Riverside Park in the summer can be a pleasant stroll for Mauston residents and visitors, as long as they’re not dodging goose droppings.

City Administrator Nathan Thiel said the city has received several complaints recently about the sidewalk along the river being covered in droppings. The city is reaching out to the public, through Facebook, for suggestions on how to solve the geese problem.

“I think it’s going to be a continuous issue for us,” Thiel said. “We have tried multiple options, but not much has worked. We have tried flashing lights, a wired fence along the bank to UV paint. … One thing that is restricting is that the DNR and USDA has certain restrictions on how we handle these migratory birds even though most we have now are resident birds.”

Thiel said the city’s public works department continuously cleans the sidewalk, but it’s often littered with fresh droppings hours later. The city could pay for an annual spring roundup of geese, but Thiel said the cost would be steep.

“One option is, starting this fall, the chief has authority to shoot at the birds in the city so that’s an alternative,” Thiel said. “I’ve seen some residents who say we’ve affected their habitat and then I’ve had others who say we should harvest the geese.”

Alderman Steve Leavitt said the city should reach out through social media for suggestions before making a decision whether to euthanize the geese this fall.

New fire contract with Lisbon

The city also approved a new fire service agreement with the town of Lisbon. The contract is a three-year agreement requiring all fire trucks to operate from Mauston. The town will pay Mauston $19,556 for the contract.

Thiel said the cost breaks down to $100 an hour per truck and $14 per man hour. The contract also includes operating expenses.

Assaults on the rise

In his monthly report, Zilisch said the police department has seen an increase in both child abuse and sexual assault cases.

“We’ve been seeing more of those and that’s unfortunate,” Zilisch said.

The chief said his department is also providing aid to the county sheriff’s office and other local agencies to combat the area’s drug epidemic.

“We’ve been busy trying to keep drugs out of the community,” Zilisch said.

Contact Kevin Damask at 608-963-7323 or on Twitter @kdamask

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