Vilas County

Remember that old MasterCard commercial, asserting that that value of some things are priceless? What about clean water? Emily Bright brings us a new Vilas County study that puts an economic value on its surface water—and it might be higher than you think.

"Are you really going out today?"

"Oh, yeah. I surf all winter in New York so, it’s all good."

Wisconsin DNR


The Vilas County Board voted Tuesday to allow ATVs to ride on defined sections of county trunk highways as part of a larger ATV route that spans Eagle River, Conover, Lincoln, and Phelps. ATVs will be allowed to run on the road where signage permits, but they must stay as far to the side as practicable. There is no set date for when those signs will go up, though ATV riders are hopeful that they can start this spring.

Meanwhile, Vilas, Forest and Oneida counties could be joining forces to provide public transportation to some of its residents.

Two Fatal Accidents Claim Lives in Vilas County

Jan 12, 2015

A 34-year-old Pewaukee man was killed in a snowmobile accident Saturday in Plum Lake Township --off of Birch Spring Road near Sayner.

Vilas County investigators say Jason Ringle fell off a snowmobile and was struck by another snowmobile in his group.

It was the first snowmobile-related death recorded in Wisconsin this year.  

The accident remains under investigation by Vilas County authorities and the DNR.

Wisconsin recorded three snowmobile-related deaths in December.

A program to develop the next generation of leaders in Vilas county is looking for candidates.
Since it's inception in 2003, Vilas Vision has graduated more than 100 candidates. It is a cooperative arrangement between Vilas County UW-Extension and the Lac du Flambeau band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

UW-Extension agent Chris Stark says the program hopes to help people build a better future for themselves and the community...

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

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

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.

A Vilas County Circuit Court judge laid out the case last week that the county board should lobby for a second judgeship there.

At the county board meeting, Judge Neal Nielsen said though a core of the balanced government between legislative, administrative and judicial, the entire court system in Wisconsin takes up a small percentage of the state tax dollar…

“that figure is astonishingly low. Most people wouldn’t recognize it. As I said, that’s 85 cents of every 100 dollars of state tax revenue goes to the courts…”

The Vilas county board voted 15-4 last night to amend the county's land use plan to allow motorized trails on county land and roads. The vote is a victory for those seeking to overturn a 2004 referendum vote where a majority wanted no county ATV trails and a subsequent county board resolution banning ATV's on county properties and roads.

A woman and child have been hospitalized after nearly drowning in Star Lake in Vilas County Tuesday. 

Shortly before one o’clock Tuesday, the Vilas County Sheriff’s office received a 911 call reporting two adult women were trying to rescue three children swimming in Star Lake. 

The women apparently rescued two of the children without incident, but when rescuing the third child, one of the women went under the water, along with the child.  A family friend arrived on a boat to pull them out of the water.

A Presque Isle resident  has called upon others to help stop a possible change in Vilas county ATV policy.

In 2004, voters in Vilas county passed  by a 63 to 37 percent margin an advisory referendum not to allow ATV's on county roads and property. The county board followed up with a resolution affirming the advisory referendum.

Vilas County says a new silent sports trail map is getting a warm reception.

The map released last month combines details of more than 60 paddling, hiking, biking and ski trails in the county.    

Cindy Burzinski, Director of Vilas County Tourism and Publicity, says in the first two weeks that the map was available, they distributed 5000 copies. Ian McKenzie

A state economist says Vilas county reflects changing demographics in the north. Those demographic changes could reflect a big change in the workforce.

Scott Hodek says if you look at Vilas county's demographics, in 2010, about 25 percent of the workforce was over 65 years old and likely retired....

A growing backlog of cases in the Vilas County District Attorney's office has led the Lac du Flambeau tribe to offer $25,000 to help fund a part-time Administrative Secretary position.

The tribe presented the money this week to Vilas county officials. The money is matched by Vilas county contribution over three years.

Many of the cases in waiting are from Lac du Flambeau.

The economic impact of tourism in Vilas county and elsewhere was shown in a recent report.

The state reported tourism accounted for more than $10 billion in visitor spending in Wisconsin in 2012, $6 billion of that on dining, retail and recreation. Cindy Burzinski, Executive Director of Vilas County Tourism and Publicity says visitors spent a lot of money in places to stay, eat, and shop...


" 2012, visitor expenditures were at $195.4 million dollars, and that was a 10 percent increase over 2011...."

Joe Ross

An early opening for Vilas County trails has snowmobile clubs and local businesses in good spirits.  The date was moved up from Tuesday December 17th to this Friday December 13th at 6 pm.

Vilas County Parks and Recreation Forester Dale Mayo says opening day usually happens after the four-day antlerless deer hunt ends.  But he says this year low temperatures and snow conditions seem to have discouraged many hunters.

Vilas County authorities are still waiting to determine cause of death for a woman whose remains were found in the woods last week. 55-year-old Sandra Schinke of Sayner went missing in 17 months ago in the Northern Highland Forest.  Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath says forensic evidence helped make the positive ID.

“The teeth were intact in the jaw at the scene as part of the remains.  So we utilized a forensic anthropologist and dental records that we had obtained from Mr. Schinke when his wife went missing.”