Official Minute: Local warden offers ideas to help you enjoy Wisconsin’s short, but fun summer
By DNR Conservation Warden Curt Butler
By now in this summer season, you may have had your fill of above average hot humid days, but don’t forget cold air and snow is not too far off.
So, enjoy the warm days while it lasts. Lincoln County is the perfect place to get outside and have fun. I have a few ideas to help make your outing fun and safe.
One of the most common and potentially dangerous situations I see while working on the water is improper boat navigation lights. Boat navigation lights need to be illuminated during hours of darkness and it’s important they comply with the legal requirements for brightness and orientation. Boat lights play a critical role in safely boating at night. It’s important to test your boats navigation lights prior to needing them a bad wiring or a burned-out bulb can lead to not having working lights as dark arrives. One other safety regulation is the use of docking lights on (illuminated) while operating on the water.
The illuminated docking lights drown out the navigation lights. This causes a lot of confusion to other boaters who are trying to determine your boat’s speed and direction. During the hours of darkness, it is illegal to have any other lights illuminated on a boat that interfere with its navigation lights. Docking light are designed for when you get close to shore and need to dock or load your boat.
ATV / UTV Tires:
Lincoln County sees significant amount of ATV /UTV traffic as there are plenty of road routes to get you from place to place. I am starting to see a lot of people putting “street tires” on their machines and there are a few things to keep in mind.
First is safety. Most ATVs and UTVs were not designed to operate on roads. Although putting a street tire on one might help it handle a bit better on the road, it will not perform like a motor-vehicle. The machine will also handle poorly on an ATV/ UTV trail. True “hybrid” tires are very difficult to come by.
Second it the legal aspect. An ATV/UTV must be equipped with 3 or more “low-pressure” tires or non- pneumatic tires. A low-pressure tire means a tire that is designed to be inflated with an operating pressure not to exceed 20 PSI as recommended by the manufacturer. If you install street tires on an ATV/UTV that are inflated above 20 PSI you no longer are operating an ATV/UTV, but a motor vehicle that falls under different rules.
As always before you go afield, review the regulation pamphlet specific to your activity. For questions not found in the regulation pamphlets, contact WDNR call center staff available 7 days a week (7 a.m.-10 p.m.) call toll free 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463). Also, to report WDNR violations call 1-800-TIP- WDNR (1-800-847-9367) 24/7 365 days a year; or contact me at (715) 416-0068.
The Official Minute is a new weekly online feature consisting of columns written and submitted by local officials, on news and happenings from within their respective departments and agencies, as well as tips and key information to keep the public informed. We would like to thank the following participants; Merrill Police Chief Corey Bennett, Southern Lincoln County DNR Conservation Warden Curt Butler, Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson, Lincoln County Clerk Chris Marlowe, Merrill Area Housing Authority Executive Director Paul Russell, Merrill Area Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John Sample and Lincoln County Sheriff Ken Schneider.