To: WATVA team, ATV & UTV enthusiasts, OHV families & friends
Once again, our Vilas County supervisors, the dedicated area clubs and pro-ATV/UTV advocates in the Vilas County area REALLY, REALLY, need our help! Can we count on you once again? Please say yes....this vocal anti-ATV sentiment must be neutralized. That's where we, outside of Vilas County, can play a major part in the pro-ATV outcome.
Just a quick review and then some direction as to what's being asked of us. You may recall on July 22nd, the Vilas County Board of Supervisors took a very bold step, voting to update and change the Vilas Countywide plan that up to that point in time prohibited any ATV / UTV / motorcycle trail or route system to even be proposed on county highways or lands.
For the 300 to 400 of us that showed up that fantastic evening in July to show our loyal support for ATVing in the Arbor Vitae town hall where the county board meeting took place that particular night, indeed the county board vote outcome was what I call a "watershed moment" for the ATV community here in Wisconsin!
After a long drawn out, amendment filled evening of Vilas County government bantering back and forth, the pro-motorized supervisors prevailed by fending off countless tactics by the anti-motorized efforts to derail this much needed and updated county plan to simply allow our sport to be on equal terms with hiking, bicycling and other silent sport activities. ATVers were not asking for any special privileges, just equal opportunities with the other recreational forms of outdoor activities.
The anti-motorized zealots in this part of the state have been relentless the past 12+ years in spreading untrue depictions. In fact, they have been spreading very slanderous lies to the leaders in Vilas County about the family sport we love and cherish. They have strong armed and threatened area business owners with boycotts against them for any show of support for our type of tourism businesses. In their closed minds and their way of thinking, silent sports are the ONLY kind of recreation that should be permitted and they always portray our outdoor experience and us riders that enjoy our activities, as a sort of second class citizen.
Yes, this certainly is a form of discrimination and not only are our local Vilas County ATV / UTV families being discriminated against in this manner, we're all lumped together in this category when these anti-motorized folks in this area spew their BS to the local media.
So here's the latest. Our area clubs are presenting their first ATV - UTV proposal and the naysayers are pulling out all the stops to intimidate the county board to oppose our sport and this proposal. The Town of Phelps has already approved a short ATV / UTV proposal that would go to/from Phelps over to Forest County, which then links up to their system. Part of this proposal is to make use a part of County Hwy A. This is why the county is even involved.
The anti-motorized opposition is making an all-out push to defeat this. They are demanding the county board put an anti-ATV referendum on the fall ballots. They are smothering the entire county board and the local media with their negative and discriminatory rhetoric as to how bad we ATVers are and that we'll surely ruin Vilas County.
So here's the plan, time is again short -
1) Blanket & flood the Vilas County board of supervisors with simple e-mails and/or regular letters. The request or talking points should include "end the discrimination against ATV & UTV riders", tell them "your family will stop coming to Vilas to snowmobile, to hunt, to fish and use your boats, ride your road motorcycle, consider purchasing property or any other kind of business within this county" if we are not given an equal opportunity for responsible ATV & UTV recreation.
2) Tell the county supervisors they were right to vote "yes for ATV options" and reassure them the "harassing threats by the local zealots are blocking any chance for the local businesses and another chance for new economic development with our group".
3) Join us in Phelps on Tuesday night, August 26th. Show up in person, bring the family, wear your club colors, and load the ATV / UTV in the pickup or trailer. Let's be highly visible in the Town of Phelps school parking lot. WATVA is planning to be there early, might even do some ATV tailgating of sorts but we're bringing our trailer and wheelers to show our pride.
I for one am tired of the bullying tactics by these self-proclaimed anti-motorized goody two shoes people causing our image great harm! Let's not let them roll over our ATV-UTV brethren and sisters in that area! We'll be respectful but pleasingly persistent.
Join us please, we'll literally show the board we've had enough of this other group's tantrums but to do that we need loyal ATV / UTV / motorized supporters to help us make the statement, even more so than we did last month!!! Come, make this a civics lesson for your kids and grandkids as to what our republic form of government is about and how it works. Those who show up and are counted are the only ones that can really change anything!!
Below is the address of the August Vilas County board meeting. It starts officially at 6:30 PM but we plan to be there around 5:00 PM. Come find us in the parking lot, let's have a hot dog or some other Wisconsin staple and do our own WATVA tailgating of sorts, talk about the meeting strategy and generally get our house in order. Let's go into the school early and show our local club's and the pro-motorized board members we have their backs!
Phelps School, 4451 Old School Road, Phelps, WI 54554
- Here is a link to the county board supervisors off the WATVA web site. Look for the E-mail addresses for Vilas County "Click Here to e-mail all the county board members" and construct your message with some or all of the talking points I suggested and hit send! Call them if you wish but let them know you're mad as **ell about these lies and you aren't going to take it anymore!
- Pass this information to others, get your riding buds and family involved, let them know what's at stake. Have them join us in Phelps if at all possible!
Respectfully Counting On You,
The WATVA Leadership Team