Sheriff opposes plan to let ATVs on Marinette County highways

This letter was written to the Marinette County Board —

I write today to explain why, in the interest of public safety and highway safety, I urge you to vote “no” on the Highway Committee’s 3-2 vote to open all county trunk highways to ATV and UTV use.

The sheriff’s office has worked diligently in the past several years to reduce serious personal injury accidents and fatalities. We have been successful. In my opinion, the action of the Highway Committee is a dangerous step in the wrong direction in our highway safety efforts.

As you are aware, Marinette County is a very large county with vast differences in the traffic flow, driveway density, etc. To open all county trunk highways is poor public policy and a recipe for tragedy, multitudes of complaints and enforcement concerns.

Imagine County Trunk Highway BB/Shore Drive with all of the residences. Or other highways like A, W, O; highway-speed traffic with campers, boats, logging trucks, with hills and curves and sharp dropoffs in steep ditches with rocks and trees. Enter ATVs/UTVs in this mix and I believe it is only a matter of time before tragic consequences will occur.

I am willing to work with individual requests to open short sections of county trunk highways after being allowed to take a subjective look at each with our highway safety coordinator who chairs the state-required local Traffic Safety Commission.

The county administrator and I thought we were moving in a logical direction to establish a procedure, as in Oconto County’s procedure: “The single most important route consideration is safety.”

Board members, as your sheriff, I appeal to you in the interest of safety to vote “no” on the Highway Commission’s action of Oct. 11.

Thank you.