Economic Data for ATVs & UTVs

 The following are economic impact studies that have been conducted to showcase the economic benefits ATVs and UTVs are towards a community.

The Economic Impact of ATV / UTV Riders in Wisconsin (2023)

 The Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association's rider-funded economic impact survey of riders during 2023. Data was gathered statewide by our volunteers and complied and reviewed by Daniel Lee Consulting LLC. 

2024 Economic Report Summary

The summary report for the 2023 economic impact study by the Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association. 
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The Economic Impact of ATV / UTV Riders in Wisconsin

This study aims to evaluate the economic contributions of ATVing in Wisconsin, focusing on ATV and UTV usage while excluding rental companies and commercial dealerships to ensure a precise representation of recreational riding activity. Commercial registrations constitute a small fraction of recreational riding, less than 0.5% of all registrations, and may exhibit distinct spending patterns.

Comprehensive data on ATV/UTV rider spending was collected through an on-site, in-person survey conducted and funded by the NOHVIS Group in partnership of the Wisconsin ATV Association. Participants were asked to provide detailed spending information by category, offering insights into their economic contributions. While the survey excludes activity by minors, it includes spending made by adults on their behalf, providing a holistic view of economic impacts. Additionally, survey respondents comprise both in-state and out-of-state residents.

Furthermore, this study utilizes the RIMS II input/output economic model by the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis to measure multiplier effects of ATV/UTV rider spending. Through this model, the estimated economic value was expressed by metrics such as employment, labor income, and output in Wisconsin. Moreover, the author estimated state and local government taxes using RIMS II impact results and government tax data. Together, these methodologies offer a comprehensive understanding of the economic implications of ATVing activity in Wisconsin.
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Jackson County ATV/UTV Trail Study Survey Report, 2019 (June 2020/11)

The purpose of this study was to obtain trail surface preferences of ATV and UTV users of the Jackson County trail network and to solicit feedback about their trail experiences.

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Jackson County ATV Trail Users Survey Report (2015)

The purpose of this study was to assess the economic impact of users of the Jackson County trail network and to solicit feedback from riders about their experience. Survey data were collected by intercept interviews with trail users during the 2015 trail season (May 16 to October 15).

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Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account: Prototype Statistics for 2012-2016

Prototype statistics from the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) released by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) show that the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.0 percent ($373.7 billion) of current-dollar GDP in 2016 (table 1). In addition, the outdoor recreation economy grew 3.8 percent in 2016, compared to growth of 2.8 percent in the overall economy.

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A Case Study of Cheese Country Trail Users & Economic Impacts in Southwestern Wisconsin (2012)

Motorized trail use is an important activity throughout the Lake States and is an important component of outdoor recreation in Wisconsin. As an enjoyable activity for all ages, it represents a particularly important form of outdoor recreation for older adults. The presence of places to ride and trails that connect communities provides these recreationists with a varied and enjoyable landscape within which to enjoy the Wisconsin outdoors. Motorized use trails also provide important assets for the development of tourism within rural communities.

In this report, we raise issues relevant to motorized recreational use of trails and the communities that find themselves affected by these trail users. We do this from a community development context and focus on the developmental attributes of trail user impacts as an externally driven community economic stimulus. As evidence, we support this with case study research of the Cheese Country Trail in Green, Lafayette, and Iowa Counties of southwestern Wisconsin.

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Economic & Demographic Profile of Wisconsin's ATV Users (2004) (Updated 2022 Projections)

In an attempt to gather more information about Wisconsin's ATV riders, the Department of Tourism partnered with the Wisconsin All-Terrain Vehicle Association (WATVA) and the University of Wisconsinís Department of Urban and Regional Planning to gather marketing and economic impact information. The objectives of the research were: 1) to define an ATV rider (age, educational level, and residence); 2) to describe characteristics of the ATV trip (length of overnight stays, overnight accommodations, and party size), 3) to identify the userís reasons for being in the area and other attractions/activities they will participate in while on this trip; 4) to assess the importance of various aspects of ATV trail riding; 5) to measure user expenditures in the area; and 6) to determine the economic impact of nonresident visitors in the area.

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Using the data from the 2003/4 study, we updated the number for current registrations and inflation. Click the file below to download. There is also a video explaining the then to now economic update. 

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Data: Motorcycling, ATV riding, side-by-side driving among nation's largest outdoor recreation activities

IRVINE, Calif., — Motorcycling, ATV riding, and side-by-side driving are among the country's five largest traditional or conventional outdoor recreation activities, when ranked by economic output, according to data released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

This was the first time that the BEA provided preliminary data on economic contribution in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, demonstrating how important outdoor recreation is to both local business as well as the nation's gross domestic product.

And, it's a growth sector.

According to the BEA release, its Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account "shows that inflation-adjusted (real) GDP for the outdoor recreation economy grew by 3.9 percent in 2017, faster than the 2.4 percent growth of the overall U.S. economy. Real gross output, compensation, and employment all grew faster in outdoor recreation than for the economy as a whole."

The bureau defines "conventional" outdoor recreation as activities done for pleasure, such as camping, hiking, hunting, and fishing, and involving some physical effort.

Sport Economic Output
Boating / Fishing $20.9 billion
RVing$16.9 billion
Motorcycling / ATVing / SxS$9.1 billion
Hunting / Shooting / Trapping$8.8 billion
Equestrian$7.8 billion

 "We have long known that motorcycling, ATV riding and side-by-side driving are major contributors to the economy, to our country's GDP, in so many ways," said Tim Buche, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council. "We boost local economies, too, and not just through powersports dealers and retailers. Our enthusiasts book hotel stays, pay park fees, buy food, supplies, and other gear they need for all sorts of great outdoor adventures. All of that makes them, and our industry, a powerful economic engine that merits the attention of policymakers and those who manage public lands."

The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable is a coalition of outdoor recreation trade associations and the Motorcycle Industry Council, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association are members. Looking at the BEA's latest report, the ORR noted some additional highlights:
Outdoor recreation accounts for 2.2 percent of U.S. GDP, creating $778 billion in gross output supporting 5.2 million jobs.

Outdoor recreation is responsible for a larger share of GDP than many major industries, including chemical products manufacturing, farming and ranching, mining, and utilities.

"[The] release of state data is a significant step forward for the entire outdoor recreation industry," said Jessica Wahl, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. "This second full year of national data—together with prototype state-level numbers—proves that our industry is a driving economic force across the country. ORR will continue to work with Congress, federal agencies, state governments and others to ensure that everyone has access to our public lands and waters and that our nation's outdoor infrastructure can sustain and grow healthy communities and healthy economies."

The Motorcycle Industry Council exists to preserve, protect and promote motorcycling through government relations, communications and media relations, statistics and research, aftermarket programs, development of data communications standards, and activities surrounding technical and regulatory issues. As a not-for-profit national industry association, the MIC seeks to support motorcyclists by representing manufacturers, distributors, dealers and retailers of motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, ROVs, motorcycle/ATV/ROV parts, accessories and related goods and services, and members of allied trades such as insurance, finance and investment companies, media companies and consultants.

The MIC is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., with a government relations office in metropolitan Washington, D.C. First called the MIC in 1970, the organization has been in operation since 1914. Visit the MIC at

The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America is the not-for-profit national industry association promoting the safe and responsible use of all-terrain vehicles through rider training, public awareness campaigns, and state legislation. Additionally, SVIA works to preserve access to off-road riding areas and expand riding opportunities. Accredited by the American National Standards Institute, SVIA develops standards for the equipment, configuration, and performance requirements of ATVs. Based in Irvine, Calif., SVIA is sponsored by American Honda Motor Co., Inc.; BRP, Inc.; Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.; KYMCO USA, Inc.; Polaris Industries Inc.; Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.; Arctic Cat; and Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. Visit SVIA online at For safety information or to enroll in the ATV RiderCourse nearest you, visit, or call (800) 887-2887.

The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association is the not-for-profit national industry association promoting the safe and responsible use of ROVs (also called side-by-sides or UTVs). Accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ROHVA develops standards for the equipment, configuration, and performance requirements of ROVs.

Based in Irvine, Calif., ROHVA is sponsored by American Honda Motor Co., Inc.; BRP, Inc.; Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.; Mahindra North America; Polaris Industries Inc.; Arctic Cat; and Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.. For more information visit

The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable is America's premier coalition of outdoor recreation trade associations, made up of 28 members representing over 50,000 American businesses. These organizations represent a sector of the economy that produces $778 billion in economic output, accounts for 2.2 percent of U.S. GDP and supports 5.2 million jobs—all while growing faster than the nation's economy as a whole.
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2024 WATVA Annual Meeting & Convention April 12th, 13th and 14th

Silent Auction

Thank you to the following sponsors of our 2024 silent auction! We raised over $2,000 to help cover the cost of the convention. 

Silent Auction Sponsors 

Annual Meeting Sponsors

The following businesses have made a financial contribution to cover the cost of your lunch and dinner, acknowledging the hard work our clubs do, that in turn benefits their businesses.

We're all working to make Wisconsin a great place to live, work and play.

Team Winnebagoland - Oshkosh Engelhart Inc - Madison Ecklund Motorsports- Appleton
Rob's Performance - Johnson Creek Zacho Sports- Chippewa Falls Donahue Super Sports- Wisconsin Rapids
Fuel Powersports- West BendVetesnik's - Richland CenterTA Motorsports- Francis Creek
Cedar Creek Motorsports - CedarburgMad City Power Sports- DeForestHexco Powersports- Oshkosh
Action Power Sports- Waukesha2 Brother's- OnalaskaCozzy Polaris- Marinette
Verne's Kawaski of Antigo- AntigoAntigo Yamaha- AntigoKen's Sports- Kaukauna
Feldmann's Sales and Service - Howards Grove

Convention Agenda, Itinerary and Slideshows 

Download the agenda with the link below! 

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Jillian Steffes - WI DNR Grant Manager for Off-Road Motorized Recreation, Rob McConnell & Mike Biese Governors' ORV Council 

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Lt. Jake Holsclaw - WI DNR Administrator, Bureau of recreation Safety and Outdoor Skills PowerPoint Presentation:  

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Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association's 2024 Economic Impact Report 

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Friday, April 12th - Reception

Friday night is our welcome reception and early check-in for our WATVA members. Join us starting at 7:00 p.m. in the Expo 3 & 4..

Saturday, April 13th - General Session

Please note, times and locations are subject to change. 
Expo 3 & 4
7:30 a.m. Conference Check-In. Online auction continues.
9:00 a.m.Pledge of Allegiance
- Opening Ceremony by Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza
9:30 a.m.Drew Nussbaum - WI Dept. of Tourism /
9:45 a.m.Break
10:00 a.m.Cassie Mordini - Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation
10:45 a.m.Break
11:00 a.m.Jillian Steffes - WI DNR Grant Manager for Off-Road Motorized Recreation, Rob McConnell & Mike Biese Governors' ORV Council
11:30 a.m.Lt. Jake Holsclaw - WI DNR Administrator, Bureau of recreation Safety and Outdoor Skills
12:00 p.m.Lunch - Expo 1 & 2
1:30 p.m.Ride Safe Foundation
2:00 p.m.Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Reciprocity Dilemma
2:30 p.m.Break
2:45 p.m.UTV Definition Challenges
3:15 p.m.WATVA Annual Business Meeting
4:00 p.m.Online Auction Ends
5:30 p.m.Evening Banquet Dinner
6:30 p.m.Trail Ambassador Cadet Pilot Program Announcement & Special Awards Night Celebration

Saturday, April 13th Evening Reception / Awards Presentation

Expo 1 & 2: Saturday evening dinner and presentation of awards for Trail Ambassador program, WATVA awards and other presentations.

This will be a casual and fun evening full of laughs, community and great food. 

Sunday, April 14th - Review

It's time to wrap up the weekends activity with a town-hall style review. During this meeting we will discuss what we liked, didn't like and plans for the remainder of the year / next years annual meeting. This session is open to the public as we love to hear feedback on how you enjoyed (or didn't) the annual convention. 

The wrap up starts at 9 a.m. and goes until 11 a.m.

Hotel Information 

The 2024 WATVA Annual Meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Stevens point. 

Event Sponsors

Engelhart Inc - Madison
Zacho Sports- Chippewa Falls
Vetesnik's - Richland Center
Mad City Power Sports- DeForest
2 Brother's- Onalaska
Antigo Yamaha- Antigo

Ecklund Motorsports- Appleton
Donahue Super Sports- Wisconsin Rapids
TA Motorsports- Francis Creek
Hexco Powersports- Oshkosh
Cozzy Polaris- Marinette
Ken's Sports- Kaukauna

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WATVA Where To Ride Planning Map

Purchase the VVMapping Map Book

Printed map book with over 150 pages of color maps from around Wisconsin.

Sold by National Motorsports Services.

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Legislative Accomplishments

 The Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association is has a long and proud track record of enacting legislation that moves our sport forward. Below are accomplishments of the association in the last 20 years. 

2007 Senate Bill 514
Act 209
Created a UTV (Light Utility Vehicle) pilot program that was conducted for several years.
2009 Senate Bill 448
Act 20
Extended UTV (Light Utility Vehicle) Pilot Program
2011Senate Bill 354
Act 208
Provided permanent registration and updated regulations for UTVs.

Introduced major changes, including defining a UTV, aligning UTVs with
ATV laws, requiring operators to be at least 16 years old and have ATV
Safety Certification, registration categories, new non-resident 5-day
ATV/UTV trail pass, late registration renewal fee, funding for ATV trails
allowing UTVs, rear license plate, registration free weekend, expiration
date of registrations, tampering of odometers.

2013Senate Bill 32
Companion: Assembly Bill 43
Act 15
Youth safety bill/grandparents bill relating to age restrictions, safety
certificates, and speed reductions regarding the operation of an ATV.
2013Senate Bill 29
Companion: Assembly Bill 44
Act 16
Created Governors ORV Council.
2017Senate Bill 392
Companion: Assembly Bill 485
Act 87
Allowed the operation of an ATV or UTV on the roadway or shoulder of a
highway for the purpose of crossing a bridge, even if the roadway is
officially closed to ATV or UTV traffic.
2017Assembly Bill 442
Companion: Senate Bill 437
Act 193
Provided guidelines for political subdivisions to designate ATV routes,
erect signs, and allowed the designation of all highways within territorial
boundaries as ATV routes.
2017State Budget Item 22Reinstated the Safety Enhancement Program – Trail Patrol Ambassador
2019Senate Bill 583
Companion: Assembly Bill 652
Act 183
- Eliminated the requirement for low-pressure or non-pneumatic tires on
ATVs and UTVs.
- Provided a measurement method for the width of an ATV or UTV
- Introduced various modifications and exemptions related to registration,
auxiliary lighting, diming high beams for oncoming vehicles, operation
during emergencies, acquisition of communications equipment,
compliance with stop signs or other regulatory signs, and safety
information sign funding for nonprofit organizations.
2021Senate Bill 269
Companion: Assembly Bill 265
Act 70
Increased weight definition for UTVs to 3,000 lbs.
2021Senate Bill 364
Companion: Assembly Bill 366
Act 103
Eliminated the 40' rule requiring the need for a light barrier during
nighttime travel.
2021Senate Bill 506
Companion: Assembly Bill 516
Act 164
Local authorities may designate highways as ATV routes, with the ability to
post specific speed limits for ATVs and UTVs.
2021Senate Bill 727
Companion: Assembly Bill 760
Act 176
Combined six DNR ATV and UTV appropriations into three, streamlining
2023Senate Bill 239
Companion: Assembly Bill 238
Act 67
Moved mapping app and communications for TPA program from ORV
council to DNR LE budget with a yearly appropriation.
2023State Budget: Departmentwide Item 8
State Budget: Law Enforcement Item 4

- Increased maximum summer trail maintenance funding for ATV trails
allowing UTVs from $200/mile to $400/mile.
- Increased funding for County ATV/UTV Law Enforcement grants to $1.3
- Increased by 3 the number of positions for the warden team in the State
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Winter Riding Information

We Need You! 

Did you know most of the ATV and UTV trails, summer or winter, are maintained by a local club? Without our grassroots organizations, our states trail program would be vastly different from what we enjoy today.

Image By: Team Winnebagoland
The Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association and local area clubs need your membership! 

Grassroots efforts are the foundation to our ATV, UTV, Snowmobile and other outdoor recreation programs. Without the support by the many men, woman and children around Wisconsin, our trails program would be vastly reduced.

Local chapter clubs work with land managers and law enforcement agencies to help maintain trail systems throughout the state. 

From grooming, to building trails, the efforts put forth by the members directly impact the overall statewide program. 

Without help from enthusiasts, clubs wouldn't be able to perform the duties that support our trail network. Getting involved with clubs can be as simple as supporting them financially or you can offer to help with grooming activities, trail maintenance, fundraising, safety classes, the trail ambassador program or other activities / duties that support the club. 

The Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association also needs members to support the statewide efforts to improve the image of our sport by supporting local, county, state and federal partners and by being the voice of our recreation to lawmakers in various levels of the government. The Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association helps local clubs around Wisconsin with issues such as land access, ordinances, organization and conflict resolution. 

Without our membership, we would be unable to provide the statewide resources that our clubs have utilized time and time again. 

By joining the Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association, you will receive our quarterly print publication Trail Tales as well as important email updates that require immediate attention. 

Our association is proud to have over 100 local chapter clubs throughout Wisconsin. Check out our website at to find your local chapter ATV / UTV Club. 

Where Can I Ride? 

Riding during the winter season in Wisconsin can be a fantastic and rewarding experience. However, the dynamics of the winter climate in Wisconsin means that the riding opportunities are not uniform. Research is needed prior to riding someplace new in Wisconsin during winter.

Counties receiving winter trail funding
The Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association is often asked "where can I ride my ATV or UTV in Winter?" Technically speaking, that's a very challenging question to answer due to all the variables. 

During Spring, Summer and Fall, Wisconsin's ATV / UTV trails are either open or closed. It's pretty black and white. However, when we are dealing with winter conditions, a lot of land managers must deal with additional circumstances that will dictate if a trail is open for ATV / UTV use. 

It can be as simple as the native soils only support travel when the ground is frozen or it can be a complex situation involving politics and issues with other user groups on shared trails.

Regardless of the situations, it's vital that you check with the locals before you head to your riding destination. On page 7, we have provided a simple map showing the counties in Wisconsin that allow some sort of Winter riding opportunities. 

What the map doesn't show are the specific rules for each county. As an example, Burnett County (northwestern Wisconsin) offers 80 miles of frozen ground ATV / UTV trails as well as 122 miles of winter trails, per their web site. For the winter trails, they require a minimum of four-inch groomed surfaces before they are open.

The Dun-Good trails in Marinette County (northeast Wisconsin), are open all year regardless of the surface condition (they do close for a few weeks in spring for the spring thaw). 

As you can see, each trail system can have their own requirements for being open during Winter. 

Riding on frozen surfaces in Wisconsin is a completely different story. Any motorized vehicle can travel along Wisconsin's waterways as long as it's frozen and there is public access to the waterway. However, some local municipals have ordinances prohibiting motorized ice travel. You will want to check with the local municipal to ensure motorized ice travel is allowed. 

Ice travel opens up riding areas to places in Wisconsin that lack off-road trails. However you must use your own judgment when it comes to ice safety. 

Counties Receiving Winter Trail Funding (with links if available) 

Last updated: November 7th 2023 

Rules & Regulations 

Aside from the regular regulations that apply to ATVs and UTVs, there are some other regulations you should be aware of if you're riding in Winter or on frozen surfaces.

Image by Craig Lehman
Wisconsin has a lot of riding opportunities for ATV and UTV users. With these opportunities, comes regulations and rules. It's important that you become familiar with these regulations prior to heading out on the trails or frozen surfaces. 

Mechanically speaking, your machine must have a spark arrester at all times, even during the winter season. The ATV or UTV cannot exceed 96 decibels. 

First and foremost, ATVs and UTVs are not allowed on snowmobile trails unless they are marked for ATV and UTV traffic. It is extremely important that you check the trail before riding on it as illegal use on a snowmobile trail could threaten the trail from closure if it's abused. This type of behavior also threatens future multi-use trail opportunities. Check with the county or local club to ensure that the trail is indeed open to ATV and UTV vehicles prior to riding.

If you're going to head out on the ice, it's important to keep alert for any ice shacks (fish shanty). Our laws state that you must slow down to 10 miles per hour or less when you are within 100 feet of an ice fishing shanty or person not on a snowmobile, ATV or other motorized vehicles.

ATVs and UTVs that are outfitted with tracks cannot be registered as an ATV, UTV or snowmobile. Therefore they can only be operated on private property or frozen surfaces. 

Some areas may have ordinances regarding the installation of floats on ATVs and UTVs as well as additional permits. Check the local ordinances and make sure to read any signs posted at the entrance or exits of a frozen body of water. You should also check with local law enforcement agencies, DNR offices or bait shops to get the most current information on ice conditions.

Image by Kathi Hlasny

Snowplowing with ATVs and UTVs
Wisconsin allows the use of ATVs and UTVs for snow removal throughout the state under the following restrictions:

  • At a speed not to exceed 5 mph while on a public sidewalk
  • At a speed not to exceed 15 mph while on or adjacent to a roadway
  • Operation is allowed on all roadways where the motor vehicle speed limit is 45 mph or less
  • Operation shall be restricted to the far right hand side of the road
  • Operation is also allowed on roads that are legal and open ATV Routes
  • Operators must be 16 years or older and if born on or after
  • January 1, 1988 must also possess a valid ATV Safety Certificate.
  • Operation is only allowed between October 1 and April 30 for the purpose of removing snow
  • Operators may not travel at a distance greater than 2 miles from
  • Their original starting or loading point
  • Machines must display one or more illuminated, yellow lights that are flashing or rotating and visible for 360 degrees

Other Provisions:
  • A city, village, or town may enact an ordinance authorizing the operation of ATVs with snow removal devices (that are operating for snow removal purposes) on roads where the speed limit is greater than 45 mph, if the road is located within the territorial boundaries of that city, village, or town; regardless of who has jurisdiction over the particular roadway.
  • ATVs/UTVs are required to have their headlamps on at all times while operating on any road. Headlamps must be able to illuminate an object at least 200 feet away. Tail lights must be visible from at least 500 feet away during the hours of darkness. Operators must be certain that their snow removal equipment does not interfere with these legal lighting requirements.
  • ATVs/UTVs must have current Public Use Registration while operating on public roadways, public road right of ways or on public sidewalks.
  • Helmets are required for all operator's under age 18, except while operating on lands under the ownership or management of their immediate family.

For all of the rules and regulations that apply to ATV and UTV operation, please check out the official regulation booklet from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. You can find that booklet at the following website address:

Information posted above was taken directly from the WI DNR 

Safety Information 

Aside from the regular regulations that apply to ATVs and UTVs, there are some other regulations you should be aware of if you're riding in Winter or on frozen surfaces.

Going for a winter ride can most certainly be rewarding for riders. However, with cold weather riding comes additional safety precautions that should be followed to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Proper winter wear
Before we can even talk about safe riding techniques, its important that anyone venturing out for winter riding protects their own body with proper riding attire. 

Staying warm is going to be your main priority to a safe and enjoyable ride. Using loose, light and comfortable layers is a great way to keep warm. Loose fitting and layered clothing actually traps warm air generated by your body. Something to keep in mind is that the first layer of clothing should be a synthetic material that can help draw moisture away from your skin. Next, you should have insulated layer. The outer most laster should protect you from wind and rain / snow. 

Keeping the loose clothing in mind, your feet are going to be prone to frostbite as well. Two layers of loose fitting socks will help. Along with socks, make sure to wear heavily insulated boots as your machine could become entrapped by deep snow. 

Insulated gloves are also going to be important as you will be operating an ATV and / or UTV which requires some level of dexterity with your fingers. If the core temperature of your body starts to drop, blood flow will be restricted to your outer extremities which reduces your dexterity in your finger and toes. Once that happens, your fingers and toes are highly susceptible to frostbite and its important to keep them covered and warm.

Your head protection is also a key element to staying safe. A proper fitting helmet that covers all of your skin around your head and face is the best option for preventing frostbite on exposed skin surfaces.

Snowplowing with your ATV or UTV might require a less intrusive helmet (such as a DOT approved half helmet). Wearing a mask that covers the skin surfaces on your head and fits under a helmet is another great alternative.

Prepping your machine
Special care should be taken with your ATV or UTV when riding in the winter season. Mechanical issues could become life threatening situations as you might be faced with dangerous weather conditions.

Closely follow your manufacturers recommendations towards proper maintenance of your vehicle. Having your local dealership inspect your machine is another great way to ensure you're ready to ride in winter.

Riding on ice
How much ice is needed before it can be safe ice? The answer to this riddle is: there is no such thing as safe ice!

Wisconsin allows ATVs and UTVs to ride on frozen surfaces of any navigable, designated waterways. This makes using ATVs and UTVs for ice fishing very popular.

Before you head out on the ice, you will want to check with local resources on the latest ice conditions. The Internet is a great resource for checking on ice depth and conditions, however you will want to make sure the information you gather is accurate and timely. There are a few great sites that not only give you ice conditions, but user reports on how well the fish are biting!

Studding your tires for better traction can improve your performance on frozen surfaces. Make sure you follow the proper instructions for installation and maintenance on studs. If you do have studs on your vehicle, make sure to stay on the ice. Studded tires can be very harmful to any trail surface, especially groomed snow!

Tracked vehicles can be very useful for winter riding (however they are not allowed on any public trail). Make sure to keep the tracks maintained per the manufacturers guidelines! 

Riding on snow

Riding on snow can be a highly enjoyable experience but also presents its own set of hazards that are unique to winter reason riding. 

ATVs and UTVs work great on packed snow, however can struggle in fresh snow. If you're traveling on an unpacked surface, the snow can accumulate and pack under the frame of the vehicle, eventually lifting it off the ground. Furthermore, if your machine leaves a packed surface it can quickly become stuck in loose snow. 

Properly maintained and treaded tires will greatly help with traction on snow. Make sure you have the proper tires before heading out on a ride. 

A winch can be a valuable asset to have on your machine during winter riding. Making sure the winch is in proper working order and that the cable is functional is critical. Unspooling and inspecting your winch cable is a great way to make sure it will be ready when you need it. Furthermore, spooling your winch cable properly will increase the life of the cable and reduce any chance of a mechanical issue should you need it while out on a trail. Remember to follow the safety guidelines for proper winching as a snapped cable can injure someone.

The Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association always suggests taking a hands on safety course. Understanding how your machine handles (in both dirt and snow conditions) will increase your level of overall safety while riding. Remember, if you have an accident or breakdown in winter, your at a higher risk of weather related exposure injuries.

Winter Trail Riding E-book

To view the information on this page in book format, click the link below.

Download this information in a booklet form by clicking "Download File" below.

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2023 Business Leaders Conference

Sponsored By:

Conference Details:

Anne Sayers, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and Peter Hienz, Legislative Aide to State Senator Howard Marklein prepare for a ride at the 2023 VIP Ride

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

Road America, Elkhart Lake Wisconsin
N7390 WI-67, Plymouth WI 53073

Map / Directions:

Inviting Leaders & Professionals from:

  • Powersports Dealerships
  • Restaurants & Bars
  • Hotels
  • Tourism Centers
  • And all businesses or professionals involved with the Wisconsin powersports industry

Program Agenda:

11:00 a.m.

Each guest is served one sandwich. Choice of two meats and two sides.
Meats: Pulled Pork; Beef Brisket; Turkey; Spicy Andouille Sausage; Smoked Chicken Breast.
Served with ciabatta buns, pickles, and a choice of 3 BBQ sauces.

Meal Cost: $30 per person.

12:00 p.m.
Live Statewide Raffle
Win exciting prizes! Up for grabs:

  1. A brand-new Chilton Trailer
  2. A set of Atturo Tires
  3. A Moose Off-Road Winch

1:00 p.m. - Meeting Commences

  • Introduction around the room
  • Keynote Speakers: Anne Sayers - Secretary of the Department of Tourism for Wisconsin; Mary Monroe Brown - Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism
  • WATVA Business Legislation Updates
  • Important updates that will impact your business and customers.
  • Town Hall Style Q & A
  • Voice your opinions, share experiences, and ask questions.

End of Meeting, Take 3 Laps Around Road America:

Opt for a thrilling sunset ride around the Road America track.
$30 per personal vehicle.
The Road America Sunset Cruise at Road America is a leisurely, low-speed, 3-lap experience of the iconic 4-mile track with your own vehicle. It is the perfect opportunity to experience one of the premier road courses in the country. This relaxing on-track opportunity is a bucket list experience for locals and fans world-wide!

What You Need to Know:

  • Each participant must sign an insurance waiver – we can send an E-Waiver or you can complete a waiver upon arrival.
  • The driver must possess a valid driver's license.
  • Passengers (including minors with guardians) are allowed, provided they have a seat and seat belts.
  • Trucks, Motorcycles, SUVs, and vans are allowed for Sunset Cruise, but CANNOT exceed 8 feet in height.
  • Ensure your vehicle has at least 1/2 tank of fuel.
  • We will have a mandatory Drivers Meeting.

What To Do:

All drivers are expected to operate their vehicles in a responsible manner. Any driver deemed a danger to themselves, or others will be immediately removed from the track.

  • NO passing is allowed.
  • NO exceeding the max speed of 35 mph.
  • NO switching of drivers or passengers during the event.

Why Attend The Business Leaders Conference?
The Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association is dedicated to fostering relationships and synergies between business and tourism leaders. This afternoon promises an enriching experience filled with updates, insights, and opportunities tailored for you and your business.

To ensure your spot and help us with our preparations, kindly RSVP by 10/20.
Register here:

Together, let's drive Wisconsin's ATV/UTV program to new heights!

Scan the QR code with your mobile device to register for the event!
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Frequently Asked Questions About ATV & UTV Laws

When you register your ATV and / or UTV for the first time, you might receive a handy little booklet from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources which explains the current laws within the state. If you didn't, here is what it looks like:

In the event you were not able to take the time to read over the entire document, here is a post that goes over the frequently asked questions regarding ATV / UTV laws within the state.

  • Every person born after 01-01-1988 must take and pass a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) ATV safety course to legally operate an ATV or UTV on a public trail or route. Yes, this applies to people in their early 30's, it doesn't matter if you have your driver's license or not. The DNR ATV Safety course covers ATV / UTV laws and ethics.
  • You must be at least 16 years old and have a WI DNR ATV safety certificate to operate an ATV or UTV by yourself on any road route. 12-15 year old youths are permitted to ride ATV's (not UTV's) on a road route ONLY IF accompanied by a parent or parent approved adult. However, some municipalities have different age minimums, specific hours of operation, mandatory insurance with some even requiring a valid drivers license. Remember, it's up to the owner / rider to learn and follow municipal ordinances that sometimes differ from Wisconsin state laws.
  • Any person, operator or passenger under the age of 18 MUST wear a helmet that is approved from the Department of Transportation (DOT). A bicycle helmet does not qualify. If you can't find a helmet small enough for your child, they're probably too small to safely be riding on public trails or road routes.
  • Every occupant riding in a UTV must be seated with a seatbelt fastened in a manner prescribed by the manufacturer. No passenger can ride in or on any part of a UTV that is not designed or intended to be used by passengers. You cannot ride in the back storage box areas, sitting on someone's lap or on the roof.
  • Front headlights and rear taillights must be turned on, day or night, while riding on road routes & trail systems. The more visible you are to other vehicles, the safer everyone is. This safety tip applies to both road routes and trail systems.
  • All ATV's and UTV's must display a current registration sticker on BOTH sides of the vehicle as well as on a rear facing plate. The plate must have a white background and use black text. Other details about the plate do apply. 
  • No trail passes are required for in-state registrants. Wisconsin does have a non-resident trail pass (5 day or annual) with a single sticker requirement. The non-resident passes do not require rear facing plates. 
  • Wisconsin has an exhaust sound level requirement (96 dB or less) designed to keep our trails and road routes quiet. Excessive sound levels annoy and curtail access, do your part. 
  • Observe and follow all speed limits, as posted or provided in a municipal ordinance.

This is not a complete list of state ATV / UTV laws, only those that are most commonly asked about.

 Looking to hand this information out at an upcoming meeting? Download the PDF file here!

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2023 WATVA Annual Meeting & Convention March 31st, April 1st and April 2nd 2023

Click the link below to register for the convention! 


Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association 2023 Annual Meeting Registration, Fri, Mar 31, 2023 at 6:00 PM | Eventbrite

Eventbrite - Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association presents Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association 2023 Annual Meeting - Friday, March 31, 2023 | Sunday, April 2, 2023 at Holiday Inn Stevens Point - Convention Ctr, an IHG Hotel, Stevens Point, WI. Find event and registration information.

Silent Auction

Silent Auction Link

Our silent auction is now live! Check it out at the link here:

Friday, March 31st - Reception & Family Feud Gameshow 

Friday night is our welcome reception and early check-in for our WATVA members. Join us starting at 6:00 p.m. in the commons area.

New for 2023, come join our trail ambassador team alpha and team bravo go head to head in a friendly Family Feud gameshow! Hosted by Northwest Regional Coordinator Greg Olson, the gameshow features questions themed after ATV / UTV riding in Wisconsin. 

The gameshow begins at 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 1st - General Session

Please note, times and locations are subject to change. 
Expo 4
7:30 a.m. Conference Check-In
Silent Auction Begins
8:45 a.m.Welcoming guest speaker Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza, Pledge of Allegiance, Introductions & Workshop Overviews
9:00 a.m.Keynote speaker - Anne Sayers, Secretary of the Dept of Tourism
9:20 a.m.Adam Payne, Secretary of the Dept of Natural Resources
9:40 p.m.
10:00 a.m.Introducing Kristen Almer Co-Founder and Executive Director of the RideSafe Foundation, powered by BRP. Announcement of a new partnership in conjunction with a safety outreach program involving our trail ambassadors, safety instructors and club representatives.
10:20 a.m.Lt Jacob Holsclaw, OHV Administrator Public Safety & Resource Protection WI DNR
10:30 a.m.Rob McConnell & Randy Harden to introduce "Let's Ride - Wisconsin" program.
11:00 a.m.Lt Jacob Holsclaw presents and introduces "Officer of the Year."
12:00 p.m.Lunch & silent auction continues
1:00 p.m.Silent auction concludes
1:15 p.m.Silent auction results posted

Saturday, April 1st Afternoon Workshops

 Please note, times and locations are subject to change.

Expo 4
1:30 p.m. Outdoor Skills Trainers (OSTs) WI DNR - OSTS oversee the safety education programs that include ATV/UTV/OHM/snowmobile courses. These safety specialists are responsible for recruiting, training, and monitoring the services of safety program instructors. Learn about upcoming instructor workshops, mini-academies and/or how to become recertified and why it's important on many different levels. Instructors will work with trail ambassadors in the new "Let's Ride - Wisconsin" outreach program. General overview on laws and OHV Administrator questions.
2:30 p.m."How and What" to look for when purchasing your next ATV or UTV. Everything from what kind of ATV / UTV options you have to the trailer you're going to need to tow it. Accessories? They are everywhere! Learn more about them, including some handy medical gear you might want to have.

Presented by:
Tom Van Zeeland of Team Winnegaboland
Tim Lamers of Chilton Trailers
Amanda Pulvermacher - Trail Ambassador
3:30 p.m.WATVA Annual Meeting

The annual meeting for the Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association. This meeting includes our reports for they previous year, projections for the upcoming year and reports from the various partners. 

4:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 1st Evening Reception / Awards Presentation

 Expo 1 & 2: Saturday evening dinner and presentation of awards for Trail Ambassador program, WATVA awards and DNR Warden of the Year. 

Come enjoy a provided meal and video replay of 2022. This will be a casual and fun evening full of laughs, community and great food. 

Saturday Evening - Trail Ambassador Overview and Questions

Basics of the Trail / Route Ambassador program, overview of duties including patrols, working Welcome Centers, different training options, and roles of club or area coordinators designed to help streamline field day training. Overview and answer questions about the three different levels of the ambassador program.

Trail Ambassador Rescue and Recovery team information.

For those that are already trail ambassadors and would like to become part of our rescue and recovery team, please stop in to learn more about the program and hear about some upcoming exciting trainings.

Trail Ambassador Radios

Learn about a great new partnership with a statewide repeater network allowing our trail ambassadors to communicate throughout the state. Update on radio funding.

Trail Ambassador Tools Update

IAmResponding app, What3Words and updated report form which includes survey tracking for 2023. 

Presented by:
Adam Harden - Deputy Administrator for Trail Ambassador Program

Sunday, April 2nd - Review

It's time to wrap up the weekends activity with a town-hall style review. During this meeting we will discuss what we liked, didn't like and plans for the remainder of the year / next years annual meeting. This session is open to the public as we love to hear feedback on how you enjoyed (or didn't) the annual convention. 

Hotel Information 

The 2023 WATVA Annual Meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Stevens point. 

If you plan on staying overnight, make sure to mention WATVA for a discounted rate!

1001 Amber Ave
Stevens Point, WI 54482

Click here to book your hotel room (don't call, use this link!)

Click the link below to register for the convention! 


Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association 2023 Annual Meeting Registration, Fri, Mar 31, 2023 at 6:00 PM | Eventbrite

Eventbrite - Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association presents Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association 2023 Annual Meeting - Friday, March 31, 2023 | Sunday, April 2, 2023 at Holiday Inn Stevens Point - Convention Ctr, an IHG Hotel, Stevens Point, WI. Find event and registration information.

Event Sponsors

1. Team Winnebagoland- Oshkosh

2. Rob's Performance- Johnson Creek

3. Fuel Powersports- West Bend

4. Cedar Creek- Cedarburg

5. Action Power Sports- Waukesha

6. Milwaukee Powersports- Oak Creek

7. Engelhart's- Madison

8. Zacho Sports- Chippewa Falls

9. Vetesnik's- Richland Center

10. Mad City Power Sports- DeForest

11. 2 Brother's- Onalaska

12. Jay's Powercenter-Reedsburg

13 JC Powersports- Crivits

14. Feldman's Sales & Service- Howards Grove

15. Mittelstaedt Sports & Marine- LaValle

16. Ritchie Implement- Cobb

17. TA Motorsports- Francis Creek

18. Hexco Powersports- Oshkosh

19. Airtec Sports Inc- Eau Claire

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Calendar of Events

 Below is a list of events coming up!

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WATVA Leadership Team


 Randy Harden

Vice President

 Rob McConnell

Rob also serves as the Southern Regional Coordinator.


Mike Biese


 Greg Olson

Greg also serves as the Northwest Regional Coordinator.

Projects Manager

 Hank Wozniel

NE Regional Coordinator

WATVA Home Office

NW Regional Coordinator

 Jeff Jordhiem

Board Member

 Lee VanZeeland

Trail Tales Editor

 Ann Harden

Customer Service Manager

 Tanya Hermann

Membership Manager

 Kym Henrickson

Website Editor / IT

 Adam Harden

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Upcoming WATVA Events

2021 WATVA Events 

Upcoming Regional Meetings 

Northeast Regional Meeting & Ride hosted by the Lakeland ATV UTV Club

Saturday August 7th, 2021. Sign in starts at 9:30 a.m. with the meeting starting at 10:00 a.m.

Woodruff Town Hall, 1418 1st Ave,. Woodruff, WI 54568


Northwest Regional Meeting & Ride hosted by the Great Divide Riders ATV Club

Saturday August 21st, 2021.Sign in starts at 9:30 a.m. with the meeting starting at 10:00 a.m.

Drummond Lake Campground, 52455 Drummond Lake Rd, Drummond, WI 54832 


Southwest Regional Meeting & Ride hosted by the Sauk Ridge Runners ATV Club

Saturday September 25th, 2021.

More information to follow.

Southeast Regional Meeting & Ride hosted by the Kettle Moraine ATV Association.

Saturday October 30th, 2021.

More information to follow. 

Upcoming Events 


Friday, October 8th. Sign in starts at 10:00 a.m. with a lunch at 11:00 a.m. 

Dyracuse Recreational Park, Town of Rome, WI

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Trail Tales TV

2021 Season 

To view our episodes, click the play button below. We record each episode live on Facebook. You can view our upcoming episodes here or on Facebook ( Please note, dates are subject to change.

Episode 1: February 9th, 2021

Hosts: Mike Biese, Adam Harden, Randy Harden

Guests: None

Topics: News and updates, Electric UTV's, UTV weight limit and town road damages.

Episode 2: February 23rd, 2021

Hosts: Mike Biese, Greg Olson, Adam Harden, Randy Harden

Guests: Lt. Martin Stone, WI DNR OHV Program Administrator

Topics: News and updates, two-person riding on ATV's and the new law that surrounds it.

Episode 3:  March 10th, 2021

Hosts: Mike Biese, Greg Olson, Adam Harden, Randy Harden

Guests: None

Topics: Annual Meeting Preview

Episode 4: March 24th, 2021

Hosts: Mike Biese, Greg Olson, Adam Harden, Randy Harden

Guests: Jeff Kobinsky - Chippewa Valley ATVers

Topics: Wisconsin Clubs Overview

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Trail Town

Wisconsin has over 400,000 registered all terrain and utility terrain vehicles. Each vehicle is a potential customer to your business.

Our riders travel throughout Wisconsin for that perfect ride. Often times, the rider is unaware of businesses that welcome our sport.

Often times our riders are looking for a specific parking spot, a wash station or a place to put their safety gear. Our riders are also aware that they may have some dirt on their clothing from time to time, and they don't want to walk into a business that doesn't recognize dirt as part of our recreation.

The Trail Town program was developed to point our riders towards businesses that support the off-highway motorized community.
Our program is published throughout Wisconsin, online and in print, so our riders know where they are welcome to bring their hard earned money. Trail Town is a service that consumers, businesses, manufacturers and tourism partners benefit from.

Your Customers Might be Riding Past You 

If your business is located on or near a trail, there might be potential customers literally riding right by you. Trail Town will help inform riders that you are welcome to ATV and UTV traffic!

Trail Town Services 

Map Listings

Trail Town Certifications will get your business listed in the popular VVMapping map book & GPS products of ATV & UTV trails in Wisconsin. Let riders know where you are and more importantly, that you welcome their business.

Marketing Tools

Trail Town can help bring riders to your location with our print and web marketing tools. Trail Town certified businesses receive special discounts on advertising with the Wisconsin ATV - UTV Association.

Proper Signage

One of the great benefits of Trail Town is being able to display our branded signs. The signs inform the riders from afar that your business welcomes them so they won't second guess stopping and patronizing your business.

WATVA Membership 

Trail Town Certifications include a yearly associate membership to the Wisconsin ATV - UTV Association. Your WATVA membership includes a listing on our web site and Trail Tales magazine. 

Pricing Information

A certification to the Trail Town program costs each location $350. This package includes the certification to the program (if all of the criteria has been met), one 12" by 12" sign, one 5" by 5" window decal and a listing on our digital and print media outlets.

Each location must renew their certification annually. With this renewal, each location receives a new yearly decal for their certification sign and continuation on our digital and printed media outlets.

Dealership certification includes a membership into the Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association. They receive not only a Trail Town listing, but listing with WATVA (online and in print).

Pricing Breakdown 

Business: $350 Dealer: $425
Renew: $175 Renewal: $250

Qualifications & Promotional Products

Trail Town is a program that helps inform the outdoor recreation users of businesses that are open and welcome riders to their locations.

With this program, each business must qualify before being certified as a Trail Town location. Our qualifications are as follows:

  • The business must be a member of the recreations state wide association. Current associations: Wisconsin ATV - UTV Association
  • The business must be on a public trail or route 

If you're looking for custom signs, let us know! We can design and manufacture the right sign for your business.

Trail Town members also receive an additional 10% on advertising with the Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association.

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Wisconsin ATV/UTV Association's Awards of Excellence

The Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association has three awards that are given out each year during our annual meeting. They are named after passed individuals that have had a substantial impact to our ATV / UTV program throughout the years. It's the highest honor we can bestow upon these individuals to remember their own dedication and sacrifices for our trail systems. 

If you know someone that should be nominated for an award, click here.

Roger Steinbach Trail Guardian of Excellence Award 

This award is to recognize certified Trail Patrol Ambassador's that have demonstrated extraordinary volunteer efforts that reflect proudly on the Trail Patrol Ambassador program, as well as highlighting their role(s) that prominently define their work as an Ambassador for our sport.

  • 2019: Mike Biese; Kettle Moraine ATV Club
  • 2018: Bob Grunset, Mark & Marge Lubecke
  • 2017: Dan Adamec, Keith Stoney
  • 2016: Audrey Emery, Mike Biese

The images below are from the Roger Steinbach trail dedication.

Bud Auer Good Image Award of Excellence 

This award is to recognize individuals, couples, businesses or clubs that demonstrate ongoing efforts that follow the WATVA vision, mission and operating values, focusing on programs and efforts that educate the public while being role models showcasing a positive image of our sport.

  • 2019: Hidden Bear Trail ATV Club; Trails North ATVers; David & Brenda Brindley
  • 2018: Team Winnebagoland
  • 2017: Terry Coplien
  • 2016: Ernie Pulvermacher
  • 2015: Jim Wisneski, Phil & Dorthy Dausch, Roger Bean

 Dan Adamec Excellence in Mentoring Award

This award recognizes efforts that mentor and involve our youth in ways that encourage them to be an integral part of our positive future.

  • 2020: Brenda Adamec

WATVA Presidents Award 

 This award is to recognize outstanding leadership, dedication and support for the ATV / UTV program in Wisconsin. The President of the Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association chooses recipients of this award based on direct interactions with the state association.

Previous Recipients 

  • 2019: Team Winnebagoland; Ryan Pollow & Kawasaki Motors Corp; Travic Streck & Paul Schmidt of Country Financial
  • 2018: Team Winnebagoland
  • 2017: Jeff Anderson; Howard Marklein; Mary Felzkowski; American Honda Motor Company
  • 2016: Bryan Much
  • 2015: Roger Flaherty; Peter Walls; Dick Dikker; Rob DeBruyne; Rocky Caffarella; Mike Musiedlak; Bill Schumann; Tom & Holly Tomianovich
  • 2009: Marlys Knutson
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Nomination for Wisconsin ATV / UTV Award of Excellence

Please complete the form below to nominate someone for an Award of Excellence.

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2019-2020 Legislative Update

After so many meetings too numerous to count, our WATVA leadership team has brought forward numerous registration program updates, corrections, and changes that were asked of us by many different program partners.

On February 20th, our Senate bill was passed. On February 21st, our Assembly bill was passed. We would like to thank those that helped with the call to action and supported us in this bill. We are awaiting the Governors signature into law.

On March 3rd, 2020 our bill was signed into law by Governor Evers. It is now Act 183. ​Please see the file below explaining his partial veto.
File Name: Gov.-Official-Letterhead
File Size: 116 kb
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2019 Senate Bill 583

An Act to renumber and amend 23.33 (9) (bg); to amend 20.370 (5) (ct), 20.370 (5) (cu), 23.33 (1) (ng) 1. b., 23.33 (1) (ng) 1. h., 23.33 (1) (ng) 2. a., 23.33 (1) (ng) 2. b., 23.33 (1) (ng) 2. d., 23.33 (2) (b) 4., 23.33 (3) (em), 23.33 (4) (d) (intro.), 23.33 (6) (a), 23.33 (6) (f), 23.33 (6) (g), 23.33 (6r), 23.33 (9) (bb), 23.33 (9) (bg) (title), 340.01 (2g) and 346.02 (11); and to create 23.33 (1) (fe), 23.33 (1) (jd), 23.33 (1) (jqm), 23.33 (3) (ht), 23.33 (3g) (e), 23.33 (3g) (f), 23.33 (4z) (a) 3., 23.33 (6) (cd), 23.33 (6) (ch), 23.33 (6) (cp), 23.33 (6) (ct), 23.33 (9) (b) 7., 23.33 (9) (b) 8., 23.33 (9) (bc), 23.33 (9) (bg) 2., 23.33 (11m) and 971.19 (10m) of the statutes;

Act 183


Wisconsin Legislature: 2019 Wisconsin Act 183

Relating to: regulation of all-terrain vehicles and utility terrain vehicles, all-terrain vehicle projects, and making an appropriation.

The Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association is requesting a bill that makes adjustments to the state's ATV / UTV program based on the need to adapt and grow the program for expanded trail access.

This legislation enhances the ability to improve, update, and adjust to the evolution and growth of the ATV / UTV registration program in Wisconsin. 

Since the 2012 legislation passed that permanently introduced and registered the Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV aka Side x Side), our organization has been gathering input from our multitude of local clubs, trail ambassadors, associated businesses, tourism affiliates, federal, state, county and local units of government that deal with our recreational industry of ATV UTV owners.

This legislation is a package of multiple upgrades and changes that address the continuing growth of our registration numbers, providing solutions necessary to better manage the registration program into the future.

The following bullet points capture the majority of changes being proposed for our ATV / UTV program (for further explanation, see the additional pages in this document):

  1.  Remove the words "low pressure tire" from the tire requirement found in the definition of an ATV or UTV.
  2. Clarify how to measure the width of an ATV and/or UTV, which is a requirement for the definition of an ATV and/or UTV in statute.
  3. Ease and simplify the registration requirements for municipally owned ATVs and UTVs.
  4. Address and establish rules for auxiliary lighting on ATVs and UTVs based on feedback from users, land managers and law enforcement officers.
  5. Make headlights mandatory for all times of the day on the trail to match the current law that requires headlights being lit on road routes.
  6. Create a statutory requirement that riders must obey regulatory signs (stop, yield, etc.) on the trail.
  7. Open further funding resources from the ATV segregated account for statewide mapping projects by non-profit organizations.
  8. Add $100 per mile for winter trail maintenance funding on trails that allow UTV vehicles in winter.
  9. Summer trail maintenance dollars will be increased by $100 per mile on the UTV side of the program, increasing the total maximum amount for maintenance to increase by 14% or up to a maximum of $800 per mile.
  10. Clarifying where someone can be tried in a court of law for falsifying registration information.
  11. ATVs that are not designed from the manufacturer for passengers are no longer allowed on the trail (it had already been illegal on route systems for some time).

1. Remove the words "low pressure tire" from the tire requirement found in the definition of an ATV or UTV.

Low pressure tires definition in current statute is no longer relevant because of technology changes in ATV UTV suspensions. Tire technology itself has changed dramatically including radial designs with a plethora of different tread options. These facts, along with the reality of the recent trend of having thousands of miles of road route expansions, make low pressure tires a definition no longer needed.Another factor is the multi-passenger UTVs requiring the newest tire technology where as required air pressure is much different than on single passenger ATVs. The simple answer is to stipulate the definition be "tire" which allows the latest tire and design technology to address machine needs based on different uses and models.  

 2. Clarify how to measure the width of an ATV and/or UTV, which is a requirement for the definition of an ATV and/or UTV in statute.

Dating back to 2007 through 2011, a time when we here in Wisconsin were conducting the pilot testing to determine if the UTVs were compatible with our ATV trail footprints, the UTV industry had yet to develop certain standards that we could consider using in our definitions as the legislature made the UTV registration permanent in 2012. One such subject was in defining "where" to measure maximum width of the machines...Since that time, the industry has now caught up, they added a width measurement standard which this legislation adopts for consistency that benefits our riders, dealerships, and law enforcement professionals alike.

 3. Ease and simplify the registration requirements for municipally owned ATVs and UTVs.

​The UTV popularity with its appeal and diversity, including utilitarian work purposes for many local and county governments is addressed with this legislation. It eases the process originally designed more for public trail and route use versus these units serving as work vehicles for these local units of government. If the government entity clearly designates the machine is owned by their government entity, under this change they would no longer be tasked with the registration process and subsequent identification requirements that trail riders are. This streamlined update also allows leased vehicles to be included whether being used for utilitarian, emergency or enforcement purposes. It further clarifies when being used for emergency response uses, the current requirements for passenger restrictions, seat belts, helmets etc. are not required.

4. Address and establish rules for auxiliary lighting on ATVs and UTVs based on feedback from users, land managers and law enforcement officers.

A dangerous trend has developed with the advancement in aftermarket and original equipment auxiliary lighting technology. High intensity lights are being added with no requirement for dimming lights to oncoming traffic. This has resulted in multiple complaints and dangerous situations. Another issue being addressed has to do with a different kind of aftermarket lighting. This language specifies that only emergency response vehicles are permitted to have flashing red or blue lights on trail systems, staying consistent with road route compliance. Currently auxiliary light options are being sold and used with red and blue colors by the general public, this legislation fixes that omission.

Lighted whips are still legal, however they are restricted in color to Amber or white (forward facing). This is to stay consistent with road route laws that already prohibit certain colors of lights.

The following rules language specifies the new lighting requirements:

5. Make headlights mandatory for all times of the day on the trail to match the current law that requires headlights being lit on road routes.

​Because ATV UTV riding networks include thousands of miles of routes that intermix and combine with trail systems, currently riders are required to have headlights lit for routes but not on trail systems. Some trails are under thick tree canopies that make for a darker riding condition. When combined with dusty scenarios, it enhances everyone's safety to require headlights lit on trails as well as routes. This is another example of making the ATV UTV law consistent, whether riding on trails or routes, the law will now be the same.

6. Create a statutory requirement that riders must obey regulatory signs (stop, yield, etc.) on the trail.

​Currently there is no statutory requirement in 23.33 that requires trail riders to comply with stop, yield, or other regulatory sign on our trail systems. The ATV UTV program registration program that started in 1986, never anticipated the growth we've had and continue to experience. Our total number of machines registered is approximately 400,000 strong and still growing. Most riders aren't aware there are no requirements to comply with regulatory signs on trail systems but as we keep expanding, it's high time to correct this omission. In the early years, there was little chance or need to have this provision, that's not the case nowadays. Another adjustment to make the law consistent whether on road routes or trail networks.

7. Open further funding resources from the ATV segregated account for statewide mapping projects by non-profit organizations.

​A major benefit to the business community, as well as the Wisconsin general economy, depends on attracting riders from out of state as well as new riders in Wisconsin coming into this type of outdoor recreation. A major tool that all riders seek are "where the riding opportunities exist" by way of a statewide riding area map. For these specialized maps to be effective, they need to be shipped to tourism centers, registration locations as well other tourist attractions where riders and potential riders can obtain them to make their travel plans accordingly. The state association has been able to secure temporary funding to produce these statewide maps, proving they are a desired and sought-after product. This update allows for a stable funding source for a statewide map using the stability of the ATV UTV registration program, self-funded to promote our own trail networks. This update also updates eligibility for a statewide app which is the current trend in society. As well, the self-funded ATV account would make eligible the acquisition to secure safety and public awareness signage that are currently not being displayed. This update also provides for communications equipment needed to enhance the safety and productivity for the dedicated volunteers doing trail and ambassador work in the back-country of Wisconsin.

8. Add $100 per mile for winter trail maintenance funding on trails that allow UTV vehicles in winter.

​​With the growing popularity of the enclosed cabs on the side x side UTVs, winter trail riding has increased greatly. In some areas of the state, the consumer is purchasing a UTV versus a snowmobile as it can be used year-round. The original UTV laws did not anticipate heated and enclosed cabs or winter use at all. This update adds an increase for the UTV side of winter funding of $100 per mile even if the winter trail is not used in the summer season. Likewise, this update provides for a new type of winter trail that may not necessarily be shared with the snowmobile community, referred to as a frozen ground winter trail. This new opportunity will apply to areas of the state that receive the cold weather but light snow cover.

Click the link below to download a PDF of the flowchart, including a page that will estimate your maintenance dollars per mile with the current system and the proposed system.

Click the image above to view a flowchart showing the proposed funding increases for the ATV / UTV program.
File Name: Flow-Char_20191127-160803_1
File Size: 1.1 mb
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9. Summer trail maintenance dollars will be increased by $100 per mile on the UTV side of the program, increasing the total maximum amount for maintenance to increase by 14% or up to a maximum of $800 per mile.

​Summer trail maintenance dollars will be increased by $100 per mile on the UTV side of the program, increasing the total maximum amount for maintenance to increase by 14% or up to a maximum of $800 per mile. With increased traffic and larger UTVs, this increase is necessary to sustain our ability to maintain our resources.

10. Clarifying where someone can be tried in a court of law for falsifying registration information.

​The original registration program of the 1980s could never had predicted the ever changing and developing ATV UTV industry. Equipment manufacturer's now build many different models and sizes, some designed for use out west in desert and/or wide-open type riding while other models are designed for narrower and smaller trail systems which better describe our woods riding here in Wisconsin. This situation has created confusion for the consumer who can legally purchase a machine that is outside of our state description of what a legal UTV or ATV is, but they later discover they can't ride it when their registration application is eventually returned. In some cases, however, the application / applicant for legal registration omits a certain model designation, yet with other examples of falsified models listed and being sent to the DNR registration bureau. Unfortunately, the state estimates as many as 10,000 machines may have already been registered when the fact is the machine is too wide or too heavy to meet the agreed upon size dimensions our trail footprints are planned around and built upon because of the falsified applications. Eventually the consumer discovers they either purchased a machine that was outside the legal parameters to be registered, only to discover they can no longer register or ride on our trail networks or even worse they are cited when discovered when riding out on the trail networks. The unscrupulous retailer bears no financial recourse under current law, simply because the original registration program is outdated. Under our change, we are clarifying where someone can be tried in a court of law for falsifying registration information.

11. ATVs that are not designed from the manufacturer for passengers are no longer allowed on the trail (it had already been illegal on route systems for some time).

During the bill signing, a line item veto power was executed which changed how the law was worded.

The new law made riding with passengers on an ATV or UTV that was not originally manufactured for passengers illegal on public trails (it was already illegal on roadways). However, the new law does allow passenger use on ATVs or UTVs not originally intended for passengers during an emergency situation for public safety entities. This would help protect those entities from lawsuit's that might arise during these types of operations, which occur throughout the year during rescue missions in remote areas.

Also adding to the confusion was the fact that passenger use on an ATV or UTV that was not originally intended for passengers was already illegal on public road routes and had been illegal for some time.

Sometimes the complexities that surround an issue are not as they first appear. We might think we understand what we're dealing with but when we dig deeper and pull away the layers, we often find something completely different.

To make a situation more complicated, others may disagree with how we want to approach the situation. A proper situation appraisal is an important step because often issues like this are found to have a tangle of divergent elements, varied opinions, different priorities or possibilities for solutions toward different needs.

Below is the wording from Act 183 regarding passenger use on All-Terrain Vehicles:

SECTION 12. 23.33 (3) (em) of the statutes is amended to read:
23.33 (3) (em) With Except as provided in sub. (11m), with a passenger riding in or on any part of a an all−terrain vehicle or utility terrain vehicle that is not designed or intended to be used by passengers while the all−terrain vehicle or utility terrain vehicle is being operated on an all−terrain vehicle route, all−terrain vehicle trail, or roadway as authorized in this section.

Act 183

In a press release after signing Act 183, Governor Evers wrote:

"I have exercised the partial veto in Section 25, relating to being a passenger on an allterrain vehicle or utility terrain vehicle on public and private land. Current law prohibits a person from being a passenger on a utility terrain vehicle, regardless of location, if said vehicle is not designed for passengers. Section 25 would prohibit a person from being a passenger on an all-terrain vehicle or utility terrain vehicle that is not designed for passengers only on an all-terrain vehicle route, all-terrain vehicle trail, frozen water, or an authorized highway. This section would specifically not apply the prohibition to private property.

I am partially vetoing the requirement that the prohibition on unauthorized passengers only applies to designated routes and trails because I object to allowing the potentially unsafe operation of all-terrain vehicles and utility terrain vehicles in undesignated areas and on private land. If an all-terrain vehicle or utility terrain vehicle is not designed for passengers, then it should not be operated with passengers, except for those exceptions provided for in Section 33. The safe transportation of passengers, regardless of location, is essential to the prevention of injuries and fatalities associated with all-terrain and utility terrain vehicle use. 

by Governor Evers

We have included the press release issued by Governor Evers below.

Furthermore, the Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association was recently made aware that this law already existed for any road route (meaning it was already illegal to carry a passenger on any road route in Wisconsin). WATVA was not aware of this law change.

Passenger use on ATV's varies between states. For example, Michigan, Iowa, California does not allow passengers unless the ATV is originally manufactured for a passenger. Minnesota has some restrictions depending on which type of ATV it is (they have Class 1 and Class 2 ATVs).

The ATV Safety Institute advises that adding passengers to an ATV that is not designed for passengers changes the center of gravity and impacts the ability for the rider to safely control the machine. For best riding tips and a guide on safety, please check out the ATV Safety Institutes guide by following the following link:

Last Edited May 26th 2020 at 14:15.

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WATVA Mobile App is Here!

The Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association is now available on iOS and Google Play. With our app, you can check out county riding opportunities, catch up on the latest ATV / UTV news in Wisconsin, learn about our laws & regulations and learn some fantastic pointers for new riders. 

 Click the icon below to download our app on the iOS App Store.

Click the icon below to download our app on the Google Play Store. 

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ATV / UTV Sign References

The information on this page is intended as a reference for clubs and municipalities that are seeking information on ATV & UTV sign topics.

Highway Maintenance Manual (PDF 246 KB)
Section 9: Right-of-Way Use and Permits
Section 10: STH Connections
Subject 11: ATV Routes and Trails

Wisconsin Department of Transportation Resources

If you're looking for guidance on ATV / UTV road signage, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has two pages that explain in detail the rules and sign information needed. 

Motorists and ATV/UTV Riders Urged to Share the Road Safely

Motorists could be sharing the road more frequently in some areas with all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles (ATV/UTV) under a change in state law granting local authority to allow use on roads within territorial boundaries. The state Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources urge motorists and ATV/UTV operators to stay cautious... Click here to read the full article.

All-Terrain Vehicles and Utility Terrain Vehicles

Wis. Stat. s. 23.33 allows all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) to operate on state highways in certain cases, which are detailed in items 1-3 below. Each one requires some type of local government ordinance to be enacted before ATV/UTV operation may occur. For the remainder of this webpage, ATVs and UTVs... Click here to read the full article.

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Upcoming & Past Events

​Check out the latest events from the Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association! 

 July 27th 2019

Northland Camp & Conference Center
W10085 Pike Plans Road, Dunbar WI 54119

 Complete: Northeast Regional Meeting & Ride

 Click the link below to register for the Northeast Regional Meeting & Ride.

 August 17th 2019

Barron County ATV Playground
1450 8 3/4 street, Almena, Wisconsin 54805

 Complete: Northwest Regional Meeting & Ride

 Click the link below to register for the Northeast Regional Meeting & Ride.

 August 24th 2019

Grandma Mary's Cafe
175 U. S. Highway 14, Arena, Wisconsin 53503

 Complete: Southwest Regional Meeting & Ride

 Click the link below to register for the Southeast Regional Meeting & Ride.

 September 6th 2019

Dyracuse Recreational Park
1047 County Road O, Nekoosa, Wisconsin 54457

 WATVA Annual VIP Ride

 Click the link below to register for the 2019 VIP Ride.

WATVA 2019 VIP Ride Registration, Fri, Sep 6, 2019 at 11:00 AM | Eventbrite

Eventbrite - Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association presents WATVA 2019 VIP Ride - Friday, September 6, 2019 at Dyracuse Recreational Park, Nekoosa, WI. Find event and registration information.
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ATV / UTV Registration Funding Information

 This information is from our 2019 annual meeting & workshops, presented by Cathy Burrow from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

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