The Crow Wing County Board formed a task force Tuesday to look at all-terrain misuse in the county.
This follows the action taken by the DNR. The DNR formed a statewide task force to look at ATV off-road use and the misuse. Commissioner Ed Larsen said the task force is worth pursuing since the state and the ATV clubs are already working on the issue.
Commissioner Terry Sluss agreed and said that ATV off-road use is controversial. Sluss said it is a positive development that ATV users are willing to look at ways to resolve the problems on the road right-of-ways.
County Highway Engineer Duane Blanck attended a meeting arranged by the Minnesota Rural Counties Caucus recently at the Mille Lacs County Courthouse. At the meeting the misuse of ATVs was discussed. Representatives from Aitkin and Mille Lacs counties and from ATV clubs were at the meeting.
Blanck said the county has more problems in the northern portion of the county. Blanck said one trouble area is County Road 3 near Velvet Beach area. He said the road is narrow and the driveways are close together, causing safety concerns.
Other areas where Blanck has seen evidence of ATV misuse are on Gull Dam Road and County Road 3 south of Merrifield.
Larsen said part of the problem in the county that he sees is on County Road 16 north of Pequot Lakes. He said there are driveways every 100 feet and the area is wooded, which makes it hard for people and the ATV driver to see each other.
He also said he sees a lot of people riding ATVs who are already violating the law. Some of the violations he noted were the drivers were not wearing helmets and they were not old enough to have a driver's license.
Larsen said the ATV clubs are supportive of the task force.
Blanck said at the MRCC meeting that the ATV clubs want to build upon the success of the snowmobile trails. However, Blanck said this causes problems since in the summer the ground is not frozen so the ATVs could dig up the trail.
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