A proposal for an ATV trail in Lac du Flambeau goes to a referendum this week. Tribal members will cast votes this Thursday on whether they want to allow a 23-mile ATV trail to cross the reservation.
The Lakeland ATV Club has proposed to construct and maintain the trail, which some say would benefit the tribe by bringing more visitors and tourists.
But others have voiced concern about noise, dust and the environmental impact of the trail.
Lac du Flambeau spokesperson Brandon Thoms says the ATV Club has already rerouted a small half-mile section of the proposed trail…to avoid an area that is considered traditional hunting grounds.
“Those community members felt that riding an ATV thourgh those areas would not only disturb the wildlife but could also significantly damage the soil and have environmental impacts, that would significantly impact their ability to hunt and gather.”
The tribe’s natural resource department worked to prepare an environmental impact statement in April, but says it was unable to complete it because of snowy conditions and lack of time.
“There are still some unanswered questions from the environmental end of things, in terms of what impacts this will have on the environment – meaning air, pollution, dust, what impacts it will have on the water resources on the reservation.”
Thoms says there seems to have been significant community discussion and engagement around the issue.