The Permanent Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) Registration Program is now in effect.

The following list summarizes the new program:

  • Created a new UTV decal
  • UTV public registrations are $30 / 2 years
  • UTVs owners are able to purchase non-resident trail passes
  • UTV’s are included in the ATV snowplowing law
  • Tampering with UTV hour meters and odometers / same protection as ATV
  • User generated funding for trails
  • Maximum passenger & seating requirements
  • Private / agriculture UTV registration will be exactly the same as ATV private registrations
  • For public UTV & ATV registrations, in addition to the 2 side decals furnished by DNR, owners will furnish their own rear plate
  • Commercial dealers, OEMs, distributors will still register with the DNR but will no longer be issued plates, only decals for a self-provided plate
  • A new shorter term, non-resident trail pass will be available for both UTVs and ATVs
  • Effective dates for non-resident trail passes and for permanent ATV and UTV registrations decals will change to April 1st from July 1st
  • A registration free weekend for ATVs and UTVs is added
  • Certain ATVs that do not currently fit the ATV definition can be registered as UTVs
  • Same safety and education rules will apply to UTV drivers
  • UTV registrations purchased during the pilot program will be honored. New decals will be provided (and will only be required on renewal) when the user renews their registration.

Registration Information:

State laws [§23.33 (1)(ng)] require a vehicle to meet one of two definitions before it can be registered as a UTV. A vehicle must meet each and every legal specification in order to be eligible for registration with the Department of Natural Resources.

Definition 1: Utility Terrain Vehicle

A vehicle must meet all of the following specifications:

  1. Commercially designed and manufactured;
  2. Four or more low pressure or non-pneumatic tires;
  3. Dry weight less than 2,000 pounds;
  4. Steering Wheel;
  5. One or more tail lights;
  6. One or more brake lights;
  7. Two headlights;
  8. Width of 65 inches or less;
  9. Seat belts for every occupant; and
  10. Roll bar or device that protects occupants during a rollover.

Definition 2: Other vehicles qualifying as UTVs

Vehicles that would not qualify as an ATV because of their weight can be registered as a UTV if they meet all of the following specifications:

  1. Commercially designed and manufactured;
  2. Three or more low pressure or non-pneumatic tires;
  3. Dry weight more than 900 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds;
  4. Width of 50 inches or less; and
  5. Equipped with a seat designed to be straddled by the operator.

Click on the image below to see a flier produced from the WI DNR about what can and cannot be registered as a UTV.

utv flier

An in-depth look at the changes:

Creates a new UTV decal: With the previous UTV pilot program, UTVs received an ATV sticker.

UTV public registrations will be $30 / 2 years: The registration fee will be the same as the ATV fee which helps fund a wide range of support for the UTV trails.

UTV owners will be able to purchase non-resident trail passes: Identical to the ATV registration program, any non-Wisconsin resident will now be eligible to purchase a non-resident trail pass.

UTVs will be included in the ATV snowplowing law: Because the UTV was not a permanent program when Wisconsin passed its ATV snowplowing bill, UTVs were technically not covered under the snowplowing bill. This bill adds them to that statute.

Tampering with UTV hour meters and odometers / same as ATV: Currently there is a law that prohibits tampering with any ATV hour meter and odometer. This law protects the consumer and now applies to UTVs as well.

Additional funding for trails: $5 ATV / UTV late renewal registrations will be available for the trail program.

Passenger restrictions on UTVs: To prevent unsafe riding conditions for passengers, a UTV can only carry the number of passengers as specified by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in the designated seats. This makes riding in the bed or cargo box of a UTV illegal.

Definition of the UTV slightly modified from the pilot program: A golf cart, low speed vehicle, dune buggy, mini-truck, tracked vehicle, and vehicles that meet federal motor vehicle safety standards are not considered Utility Terrain Vehicles.

Private / Agriculture UTV registration will mirror the ATV private registrations: This will enable law enforcement to track and aid in locating stolen vehicles.

For public UTV & ATV registrations, in addition to the 2 side decals furnished by DNR, owners will be required to furnish a rear plate: This change was added after many discussions over the years with various experts and user groups based on surveys and meetings.

  • Plate will be minimum of 4 inches in height and 7 ½ inches wide.
  • Plate must be white
  • Black lettering a minimum of 1 ½ inches high with a minimum 3/16 inch stroke
  • Need only the 4 registration numbers and two letters that follow –same as on the registration decal
  • Owner shall maintain the plate so it is in legible condition
  • Plate shall be attached to the rear of the vehicle

Commercial dealers, OEMs, distributors will still be required to register with the DNR but will no longer be issued plates, only year decals for a self-provided plate: This change is to reflect the public registrations requiring a vehicle plate. Currently the DNR issues a single green, reflective plate for dealers, OEMs and distributors. This revision requires them to furnish their own plate which saves more for the ATV / UTV fund.

A new shorter term, non-resident trail pass will be made available for both UTVs and ATVs: This change allows our non-resident tourists an option of either a 5 day $20 pass or an annual $35 trail pass.

Effective dates for non-resident trail passes and for permanent ATV and UTV registrations decals will change to April 1stbeginning in 2013: The change was made to better serve the users with the registration period more closely aligned with the main riding season.

A registration free weekend for ATVs and UTVs was added: This change was made to match a popular free fishing, free entry to state parks & state trails  weekend which helps promote the sport and encourage new riders to try our trails.The weekend is defined as the first full weekend in June of each year starting in 2013.

Certain ATVs that do not currently fit the ATV definition can be registered as UTVs: This change was made for vehicles that fit all of the ATV definitions except they are heavier than 900 lbs.

Same mandatory safety and education rules will apply to UTV drivers: This change is to match the current mandatory safety law in effect for ATVs. This certification applies to anyone born on or after January 1st 1988, the person is required to successfully complete a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources ATV safety class. UTV drivers must be at least 16 years old and pass the DNR ATV safety class.