Eagle River has a registered trade-mark as the snowmobile capital of the world. Yet for all the years--decades in fact--that snowmobiling has been the backbone of the city’s winter economy, snowmobiles have not been allowed to operate on city streets.
That’s about to change.
The Eagle River city council called a special meeting Monday night to specifically hear from residents and businesses. The council chambers were packed, but when the mayor asked if anyone was opposed opening city streets to snowmobiles, you could have heard a pin drop. That’s when the real work began on establishing routes for snowmobiles to get into the downtown area and to access trails from within the city.
Under the proposed ordinance, snowmobiles will not be allowed to operate on all city streets. For example, Wall street, the primary shopping district, will be closed to snowmobiles between Railroad street and Silver lake road. However, snowmobiles will be able to access businesses from streets running parallel to Wall street.
Also part of the ordinance is the designation of three trailer parking areas with close access to the trails, one of the major priorities of the Sno-Eagles snowmobile club.
Gail Newitt, president of the Eagle River Business Association, said that lots of businesses, especially restaurants, bars and coffee shops, will benefit from snowmobile access.
The council will vote on the proposed snowmobile ordinance at its September 12 meeting.