Vilas County Approves ATVs on County Highway A in Phelps

Aug 27, 2014

Vilas County is likely to see ATVs on some stretches of county property.

ATV use on Vilas County property has been controversial, with most residents voting against the idea in 2004.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The Vilas county board voted 14-5 last night to approve an ordinance which will allow the town of Phelps to use a section of County Highway A to extend town ATV trails.  The decision effectively overturns a 2004 referendum vote in which a majority wanted no county ATV trails, as well as a subsequent county board resolution banning ATVs on county properties and roads.

Several hundred people filled the Phelps High School gymnasium to learn whether the question would go to an advisory referendum in November.  The board voted 5 to 14 against the referendum option, and then began discussion of the adoption of the ordinance itself, which specifically concerns allowing ATVs stretch of County Highway A.  

Proponents hope that the passing of this ordinance will bring more tourism dollars into the county, while opponents say ATVs could interfere with silent sports infrastructure or become a safety issue.