Oneida County ATV Trails Planned Years in Advance

‚ÄčOrigionally reported by The Northwoods River News (http://www.rivernewsonline.com/main.asp?SectionID=6&SubSectionID=59&ArticleID=73095)

Article by: Daleth Mountjoy - River News Reporter

Oneida County's Forestry, Land and Recreation Committee heard from County Forest Director John Bilogan last week regarding the plans for ATV and UTV trails in the county.

Bilogan discussed future plans for trail development, the use of gravel on the trails and how that affects logging operations in county forests.

He told the committee a grant to resurface the Enterprise ATV trail has been approved. Another grant, for portions of the Mudd Nutz trail, was not approved, he added.

Bilogan also handed out a proposed plan for ATV trails from now until 2021.

"We have a number of requests that have come in," Bilogan said. "Some of them are in the process of being constructed, some of them are already applied for and pending, some of them are approved in theory as a committee, and some, we might have a new request for a new trail in Three Lakes."

Bilogan said the schedule was made as a planning document and is strictly preliminary. Bilogan reminded the group that ATV trail development is not the only thing function of the department and noted that future requests from ATV clubs would be put on a list to be addressed later.

"The principle function of the department is stumpage revenue," committee chairman Jack Sorensen agreed. "While recreation is important, the county board keeps looking for more and more sources of revenue."

Bilogan said he could anticipate some issues with the request from the Three Lakes ATV Club, which, according to the document, wouldn't begin until fall of 2020. He explained there are 29 culverts under the highway that would also need to go in on the ATV trail as well.

"Without being flippant, you've got a lot on your table already, I don't see how you can possibly get this done, looking at the schedule you already have," Sorensen said. "I think, at this point, John, you just have to tell them that there isn't any time for you to go forward on this project."

Sorensen said the schedule will be a useful way to explain the department's plans to the various ATV clubs.

Bilogan also brought up the issue of gravel on the ATV trails, ahead of opening gravel crushing bids. He said loggers had raised concerns at previous meetings that the gravel on the ATV trails could cause reduced bids on county projects. The logging companies, if required to fix the trails after the job is finished, could end up bidding less, he said.

Sorensen suggested having the ATV clubs maintain the trails, and the Forestry department supply the gravel for the clubs.

"If we wind up having reduced bids on stumpage, it's going to ultimately come out of our pocket one way or another," Sorensen said. "If it's obvious that a piece of logging equipment damaged something and it wasn't intentional, and they need some loads of gravel, we can do it."

The county has recently received a grant of $20,000 that was matched by ATV clubs for a total of $40,000 to go toward gravel crushing for trail development. The winning bid, submitted by Meverden Materials Inc., was for 9,375 tons of gravel for the $40,000, with a cost of $2.67 for each additional ton needed.

Knowles Nelson Stewardship Grants

Bilogan spoke about the previous Knowles Nelson Stewardship grant applications, especially the 111-acre parcel in Woodboro that was included in the application blocked by the state Joint Finance Committee and Sen. Tom Tiffany after a request from the town chair of Little Rice, Steve Margitan. The 111-acre parcel was pulled from the sale within 24 hours of the stop by the Joint Finance Committee.

Bilogan was asked by the forestry committee to inquire with the owner of the parcel and see if he was interested in still selling the property. Bilogan said the owner had second thoughts about selling, due to having fond memories of his father there, and that the pulling of the sale was strictly coincidental.

Bilogan also said he had tried to contact the town of Little Rice to make sure there would be no further questions regarding the location of the historic CCC Camp in Little Rice that is owned by Oneida County.

RASTA

The Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association (RASTA) asked the committee to transfer $4,268 from its non-lapsing account into their lapsing account to be used in creating a boardwalk on a cross country ski trail in Nokomis.

Sorensen asked the organization if it had secured all necessary permits.

Guy Hansen of RASTA said the work had already been completed earlier in the month and the money was to be transferred to pay for the job.

Hansen also said the scheduling with a crew from McNaughton Correctional Center had been planned for a year.

"Does that come under the heading of it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission?" Sorensen asked.

The committee approved the transfer of the funds to the non-lapsing account for the wetland boardwalk crossing on the trail already on Oneida County land.

In other business, Paul Fiene, assistant forest director, reported the stumpage revenue for the month of May was $46,342.03.

Bilogan also informed the committee that this time of year was typically the slow time for timber harvest.

Daleth Mountjoy may be reached at d.mountjoy@rivernews online.com.

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