LAKE DELTON — Village government officials will review the possibility of allowing ATV/UTV’s on certain streets in Lake Delton.
At its Feb. 22 meeting, the village board unanimously approved for the ordinance committee to review the potential of allowing ATV/UTV vehicles to operate on certain Lake Delton roads. The committee will look into the possibility, draft an ordinance and establish preliminary routes to bring back to the board at a later meeting.
Any routes or ordinance allowing the operation of ATV/UTV’s on village roads will need to be established and approved by the ordinance committee before it returns to the board for further review and potential adoption. If the full board adopts the ordinance, signage will need to be installed marking the routes before any ATV/UTV’s can operate within village limits.
Several ATV advocates from area clubs were at the Feb. 22 meeting, interested in the board’s direction on the matter. Dick Fish, a member of the Sauk Ridge Runners ATV Club, said there are about 1,100 miles of ATV routes in Sauk County and about 15 miles of off-road trails. Very few issues have been present, he said.
Fish said any restrictions are up to municipalities; some ordinances in individual communities are stricter than state law. Some laws in other communities include operators must possess a driver’s license and be at least 16 years old, have proof of insurance and no alcoholic beverages. Most ordinances allow a 35-mile-per-hour maximum speed limit for ATV/UTV’s.
Fish said he also understands Lake Delton’s situation is a bit different than other nearby smaller communities. In the village, tourist traffic is heavy, such as on Wisconsin Dells Parkway, to access many resorts and tourist attractions.
Lake Delton discussing ATV/UTV use on its streets comes four months after Wisconsin Dells passed an ordinance opening its streets with restrictions. The city is in the process of installing signs to finalize the routes upon further approval from county and state officials. Reedsburg opened its streets in November 2019 while Mauston started allowing ATV/UTV access in 2017. Other nearby communities in Sauk County allowing ATV/UTV use include La Valle, Loganville and town of Delton.
ATV/UTV advocates stress opening streets in municipalities, along with establishing and expanding routes, creates additional business for shops and provides easier access for enthusiasts to drive to nearby trails. Currently, those who want to drive their ATV/UTV from Lake Delton have to hook them up to trailers attached to a vehicle and drive to a nearby trail.
A letter from the Lake Delton Police Department to Village Board President John Webb provided to the Dells Events through an open records request, suggests possible routes for ATV/UTV access. According to the letter, the easiest routes to open would be Clara Avenue between Trout Road at the north end of South Burrit Avenue. Both of those roads turn into ATV routes as they proceed into Lake Delton and enter the town of Delton. Hillman Road and North Gasser Road are also suggested as a potential route as part of the roads are already ATV routes in the town of Delton, according to the letter.
If Hillman Road, Progressive Drive, Frontage Road West, Zap Drive and Gassar Road all opened for ATV use, a route could be established from one side of the village to the opposite side, according to the letter. If the state opens County Road A as a route, Bunker Drive could also be another route to access Wisconsin Dells while avoiding US Highway 12 in Lake Delton, according to the letter.
Lake Delton resident and Plan Commission Member Doug Clausen suggested opening North Birney Street to West Delavan Street coming off Clara Avenue. He also suggested opening Birchwood Road to County Road P to access Commerce Street and Xanadu Road so those driving ATV/UTV’s can get to other Lake Delton businesses and restaurants.Clausen also stressed ATV/UTV’s are safe with lights, turn signals and can keep speeds under 35 miles per hour.
Speaking remotely, Village Trustee Tom Diehl spoke of safety concerns with allowing ATV’s to operate on certain roads and highways.
“I told you before I am very concerned about ATV’s being anywhere near (Highway) 23/33, Highway 12. I think we are just asking for trouble,” Diehl said. “Here, we are just opening up Pandora’s Box if we don’t do it right.”
Trustee Cary Brandt agreed, saying he’d like to see more of a phased opening of roads, testing it out to see if it works rather than blanketing on the extra roadways.
The village board unanimously approved to write off more than $31,000 in delinquent personal property taxes that had been ruled as uncollectable from 2006 to 2011.
The village board unanimously approved an application for a fireworks possession and display at Mt. Olympus Resort for July 4, lasting 30 minutes starting at 9:30 p.m.
Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.