St. Louis County considers ATV road ordinance – YOUR comments are needed NOW!
St. Louis County is considering creating a countywide ordinance that would allow ATVs on its county roads. This is the start of a very important process as it will create connections to trails such as the Chisholm Trail Extension to Side Lake and other future trail projects. But as ATVAM members know, every time an ATV proposal of any kind is brought to local government, anti-ATV forces try to stop it. St. Louis County authorities need to hear loud and clear from ATVers that this is needed!
There are several ways you can be heard. Attend a public meeting, send an email or give a phone call. Meeting dates and contact information are in the fact sheet put together by ATVAM Region 2 Directors (below).
Please continue to be respectful – at the meetings, expect inflammatory statements from anti-ATV citizens. Don’t argue with them. Stick to the facts – Minnesota ATVers have proven time and again that they are responsible. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, there are over 260,000 ATVs registered in the State of Minnesota now. DNR statistics show that ATV accidents have decreased as the number of ATVs registered in the state have risen.
In your letter or email, tell officials about yourself – personalize it so it isn’t just a form letter. Let St. Louis County officials know how long you’ve been riding, what type of riding you do (solitary or in groups of friends and family?), what experience you have (years of riding, ATV safety instructor, Trail Ambassador, etc.).
For people who ride in St. Louis County, let officials know the particular connections that would be made by opening county roads and why they are important to you. For riders in other counties, let St. Louis County know how things are going there – for example, Cook County opened the inner shoulder/far right side of road to ATVs in 2009, starting with gravel roads, then paved until almost all Cook County roads are open to ATVs-with no problems.
It’s time to show up and speak up!
SAINT LOUIS COUNTY ATV ORDINANCE INFORMATION
County Engineers are working toward a first draft of potential regulations. But first they are seeking, through public meetings and input, a course of action that makes the most sense for the county and its riders. Comments from the public and townships will determine what direction will be taken from 3 options:
1) NO ACTION: Riders are OK with current standards.
2) LIMITED ACTION: A permit system, rather than an ordinance, is something the county can implement right now without going through the county board approval process.
3) BLANKET ORDINANCE: Covers all county roads. Provides the most flexibility and legal immunity for the county. Most counties are doing this.
Other County Ordinances:
Koochiching County – Full usage of roads but no ditch riding.
Lake County – Full usage of roads except two.
Pine County – A permit system that allows road use from trailhead to trailhead.
Cook County – Almost all roads open to ride on far right shoulder, no ditch riding
Saint Louis County – Currently allows patchwork between trails with a county permit.
WE NEED TO COMMENT “NOW” in support for a “COUNTY WIDE BLANKET ORDINANCE” and ALSO later during the 45-day comment period following the board’s decision for a course of action. At that time comments will spark revisions of a then drafted ordinance before going back to the board for final approval.
COMMENTS MAY BE SUBMITTED BY ONE OF THE FOLLOWING METHODS:
Phone calling: 218-625-3830
Mailing: ATV Ordinance, c/o St. Louis County Public Works,4787 Midway Road Duluth, MN 55811
PUBLIC MEETINGS WILL BE HELD AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:
Thursday, Feb. 11, at Midway Township Hall in Duluth, MN.
Monday, Feb. 22, at Vermilion Community College in Ely, MN
Thursday, Feb. 25, at the County Public Works Office in Virginia, MN
ALL THREE MEETINGS WILL BEGIN AT 6 P.M.
In addition to those meetings, there will be a St. Louis County ATV ordinance meeting with ATV clubs on Tuesday, February 23 at 6:00 p.m. at the St. Louis County Public Works Department Office in the lower level training center located at 7823 Highway 135 in Virginia.
Additional information from St. Louis County can be found at: www.stlouiscountymn.gov/ATV
We need mass support in favor of a SAINT LOUIS COUNTY ATV ORDINANCE! If you cannot attend a meeting, please comment by the other methods as stated above.