WIDNR: Ride Responsibly This Holiday Weekend

17 Fatal ATV/UTV Crashes So Far In 2021 
It is the responsibility of all ATV and UTV operators to make the sport a safe one. Brush up on safety tips before heading out for the holiday weekend. / Photo Credit: iStock/wundervisuals

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking ATV and UTV operators to ride safely this Fourth of July weekend.

When out with family and friends for off-road rides and adventures, wearing a helmet and seat belt, monitoring speed and brushing up on safety best practices could save your life.

So far this year, 17 people have died in ATV/UTV crashes. Of the 5 fatal UTV crash victims, none were wearing helmets and 4 of 5 did not wear seat belts. Of the 12 fatal ATV crash victims, 10 were not wearing helmets.

"The Fourth of July holiday weekend is often a busy time on our trails and road routes," said Lt. Martin R. Stone, DNR Off-Highway Vehicle Administrator. "This year, 12 of the 17 fatal crashes so far occurred on public roads or routes. We want everyone to stay safe out there; familiarizing yourself with ATV-UTV laws and safe operation practices is a must before you head out."

SAFETY TIPS & SAFETY COURSE

When used safely, ATVs and UTVs provide fun, family recreation and are a valuable tool for working or exploring the outdoors. However, these vehicles are powerful and can be dangerous and even fatal. It is the responsibility of all ATV and UTV operators to make the sport a safe one.

Follow these tips for a safe ride: 

  • Never consume alcohol or drugs before or during your ride.
  • Wear a seat belt and a Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet.
  • In addition to a seat belt and helmet, wear protective clothing such as eye protection, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Keep your speed in check for the terrain, visibility conditions and your experience.
  • Remember that some terrain in Wisconsin is too steep for ATV/UTVs. Please be careful while traversing hills or uneven terrain.
  • Know before you go. Review all ATV/UTV laws here.

One of the best things ATV and UTV operators can do to operate safely is to take an online safety course. A list of approved safety education classes is available on the DNR Safety Education webpage.

ATV and UTV operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, who are at least 12 years old for an ATV (and at least 16 years old for UTV) must complete an ATV safety certification course to operate in Wisconsin (exception: on private property owned by operator's immediate family).

Wisconsin law requires every operator involved in a crash incident to report the incident without delay to law enforcement officials. In addition, within 10 days of the incident, the operator must submit a written report to the DNR.

For more information on ATV and UTV recreation in Wisconsin, visit the DNR's website.

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Burnett County: Summer ATV / UTV Trails Are Currently Open

During the summer season, (which runs through September 15), you may operate your ATV/UTV on State-funded Summer-Use Trails ONLY. Summer-Use Trails are designated with a WHITE blazer.

It is illegal to ride ATVs & UTVs on the Gandy Dancer Trail south of Hwy 77 in Burnett County during this time of year.

All ATVs and UTVs must display either a Wisconsin registration or an ATV trail pass to ride on our trails. Only machines meeting the state definition of an ATV/UTV are allowed on these trails. Please visit the Wisconsin DNR website for more information.

Trails will close in the event of a Red Flag Alert due to fire danger. Always check back for updated information before riding.

Use caution and look for signage regarding timber sale activity. Trucks may be crossing or using trails.

Some township ordinances allow for ATV/UTV use of the town roads and others do NOT allow it. It is the rider's responsibility to contact the township in which you plan to ride in and get the current rules pertaining to ATVs/UTVs and the town roads. Please contact the individual townships for their rules and regulations.

NO OFF TRAIL USE IS ALLOWED. Please stay on designated trails.

Caution: Trail maintenance vehicles may be on the trails at any time.

It is your responsibility to know where you are and whose property you are on. Please be careful, be respectful to other trail users, and ride safely.

Contact Information

If you need any maps, or if you need any other information, please contact Burnett County Tourism at 1-800-788-3164 or feel free to email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To contact Burnett County Forest & Parks, please visit their website at www.burnettcounty.com/trails.

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Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Update

5-18-2021 – Brushing has started on the Flambeau Trail on trails 118H-121, 118B-107, and 118A-111. Trail users should ride with caution when on these trails as they may encounter heavy machinery at any time. Work is anticipated to finish prior to the weekend. 

The trails are still dusty, but there is some rain in the forecast so conditions should be improving. 

When you are out and about you may notice that the roads and trails are looking pretty clean, due in part to some local OHVers with the Fifield Dirt Devils and the Northwoods Range Rovers who did some litter clean up last month for Earth Day. A big thank you goes out to these clubs and their members for lending a hand in keeping our public lands in great shape. 

All of the reservable sites at Sailor Lake Campground have been reserved for Memorial Day weekend, but there are some first come first serve sites. There are additional camping opportunities for OHVs as well at Solberg Lake Campground near Phillips and Smith Lake Campground near Park Falls.

Brady Howe
Recreation

Forest Service

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Medford-Park Falls Ranger District


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May 12 Flambeau Trail Update

5/12/2021 – Trails are dry and dusty, but there is plenty of sunshine to go around! Contract trail brushing is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 17 on trails 118H-121 between Riley Lake Road and trail 118C-101. Brushing will also be taking place on trails 118B-107 between Round Lake and trail 118A-111, and on trail 118A-111 between Hwy 182 and trail 118C-101. Trail users are asked to ride with caution, especially when encountering heavy equipment and machinery on the trail. Due to the unseasonably warm and dry conditions forest visitors are also asked to be fire wise and be mindful of not parking a vehicle on dry grass or leaves, having a functioning spark arrester on your OHV or motorcycle, properly disposing of cigarette butts, and when having campfires never leaving them unattended and making sure they are cold to the touch before leaving.

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Polaris donates more than $80,000 to off-road organizations with T.R.A.I.L.S. grants

Polaris has announced the donation of more than $80,000 to off-road and ATV organizations across the U.S. as a part of its ongoing T.R.A.I.L.S. Grant Program.

The nine nonprofit organizations that were awarded a spring 2021 T.R.A.I.L.S. grant received awards ranging from $6,000 to $10,000 each to support the development, improvement and expansion of trails, as well as, help to educate riders on safe and responsible riding practices.

"The receiving organizations and clubs are made up of passionate volunteers and riders who love our sport – they are the heart of the off-roading community with a desire to help create a safe and enjoyable experience for all those looking to get out and ride," said Steve Menneto, president of off-road at Polaris. "Polaris is excited to help support their efforts and show our appreciation for their passion and dedication through the T.R.A.I.L.S. Grant Program."

The Spring 2021 T.R.A.I.L.S. Grant recipients are:
  • American Sand Association (Tempe, Arizona)
  • Osseo Area Dusty Riders Inc. (Osseo, Wisconsin)
  • Heart of Oregon Corps., Inc. (Bend, Oregon)
  • Dexter Rail Riders (Dexter, Maine)
  • Garland Trail Hawks ATV Club (Garland, Maine)
  • Millsfield ATV Club (Berlin, New Hampshire)
  • Minnesota Kitty Cat Racers Association (Lindstrom, Minnesota)
  • Christ Miami Corp. (Miami, Florida)
  • Atlas Foundation (Dearborn Heights, Michigan)

"We're thrilled beyond words at the amazing generosity of Polaris. The funding that we have received has helped put Garland Trail Hawks on ATV riders' radar for a Central Maine riding destination," said Joe Valentim, president of the Garland Trail Hawks ATV Club. "Now that spring is here everyone is getting very excited to get out there. And with this infusion of funding we're excited to start work on this year's improvements."

Since its inception in 2006, Polaris' T.R.A.I.L.S. Grant Program has provided funding to national, state and local organizations in the U.S. to help support the future of ATV, snowmobiling and off-road riding.

The T.R.A.I.L.S. Grant Program focuses on two main objectives: promoting safe and responsible riding and supporting environmental preservations and trail access. Organizations may use funds from the grant to increase and maintain land access through trail development, maintenance projects, safety and education initiatives and other projects.

To date, the program has supported 324 ATV, off-road and snowmobiling organizations with more than $2.7 million in grants.

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