Lincoln County approves portion of County W for new ATV route
As of Monday, May 11, a portion of County Road W is now open as Lincoln County’s newest ATV route.
On Thursday afternoon, May 7, the Lincoln County Highway Committee considered the possibility of opening a two-mile stretch of County Road W south of the City of Merrill; connecting existing ATV routes on County Road P and Town of Pine River roads Center and Big Eddy Roads.
Lincoln County Board District 10 Supervisor Jeremy Ratliff brought the proposal to committee, citing not only County W as being the only county road which has not yet been opened for ATV operation to date, but also the convenience for local residents.
“All other county roads have at least a portion of the road open to ATV’s, but for some reason W remained closed. After speaking with the Town of Pine River government, the recreation deputy from the Sheriff’s Office and our local DNR warden; neither of them had a problem with this portion of W being opened. So I contacted Kevin to see if we could get this on the committee’s agenda and have it looked at. I’m very appreciative of everyone’s communication and cooperation with this effort.”
During Thursday’s meeting, District 1 Supervisor and Highway Committee member Bill Bialecki made a motion to approve the new route, with a second coming from District 17 Supervisor and Highway Committee Chair Kevin Koth.
The motion went on to pass unanimously by voice vote.
In an interview with the Merrill Foto News on Friday, May 8, Koth explained the advantages of having the portion County Road W open to ATV traffic.
”It will certainly help with some tourism,” said Koth. “Opening this road will allow people who otherwise didn’t have access to the City of Merrill, a chance to come into town and grab a bite to eat, gas up, or do some shopping. Also, with all of the things going on in our world and community right now with COVID-19, it can serve as a nice escape for people who want to be outside and active.”
In terms of convenience, Ratliff mentioned how the new route will not only allow area residents to access the City of Merrill for fuel and dining, but well beyond.
“The big benefit of opening W to ATV traffic is convenience,” Ratliff added. “Prior to this being approved, anyone living in the area of the new route would have to load up their machines onto a truck or trailer and drive just a few miles to the existing routes on County P and the town roads of Big Eddy Road and Center Road, just to unload and drive from there. Now, those who wish to do so, have the ability to just jump on their machine and access not only the City of Merrill routes, but even Tomahawk if they wish. Even more importantly, they now will be able to access the Harrison Hills ATV trail system from their driveways, via connecting routes. The Harrison Hills system also connects to trail systems in Langlade and Oneida counties. Basically, this now allows all county residents the same opportunities to access local approved routes and the local trail systems.”
With the opening of the new route on County W, Ratliff advocates for courtesy and safe driving.
”Please keep in mind safety is always the top priority. Please be safe when operating not only on the new route, but when operating in general.. Be mindful of regulations and set speed limits. ATV drivers should be aware and courteous of traffic and yield when necessary. ATV’ers and motorists can safely share the roadway. We have a pretty good track record here in Lincoln County of minimal, if any crashes occurring on the paved routes. But if things become problematic, the route can be closed just as fast as it was opened.”
Note: ATV operation remains prohibited on County Road W north of Big Eddy/Center Road and south of County Highway P, as signage indicates.