ATVs On The South Bluff?

ATVs On The South Bluff?

A proposal to put ATV trails and an “ATV Safety Course” on Devil’s Lake State Park’s south bluff has been making the rounds recently. I can’t say how serious it is really, but according to the documents that found their way to my desk and the way things are done these days, we should probably take it seriously.

The proposal for a State Funded ATV route called the “Tawacunchukda Trail” by its author, would put ATVs on various park roads including Burma Road on the south bluff and develop a training course west of Burma at what looks to be the north end of what is we know as “Pine Hollow”. At first glance it seems that any pollutants and erosion sediment from the course would flow directly down the stream and into the hollow, continuing out into Ho-Chunk Land in the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area. On a side note, the location also seems to be within earshot of the Chicago Mountaineers property which I’m not sure would’nt please those folks either.

While the proposal is calling for “road only access” the map I was able to see seems to show trails all around the Burma Road area.  (The map below shows my understanding based on the information presented to me.)

Proposed ATV Access within Devil's Lake State Park

Red Areas Mark Proposed ATV Access within Devil’s Lake State Park

Now let me be clear, although I don’t use it, I am supportive of the snowmobile trail that now travels Burma and circles around the southern foot of the south bluff. If you’re going get noisy out there, winter is the time to do it. They should move it off of the wetland, but that’s a debate for another day. Otherwise, It’s hard to get behind any sort of loud, destructive trail building & use on the south bluff which is one of the last relatively untouched areas within the park any other time of year. For the benefit of the majority park users, hikers, wildlife, and hunters who use this area, ATVs are just not appropriate on the south bluff.

What’s more, if you get an opportunity to look at the map of ATV/UTV routes in Sauk County now, you’ll quickly see that our area is blessed with an abundance of trails now.

I’ll leave it to the reporters to ferret out the details and to folks more eloquent than me to debate this issue for and against. And I’ll leave it to the politically energized to wake up their government officials to this proposal although I don’t see this as a “right or left” issue. My hope is that the majority of ATV/UTV riders are also Devil’s Lake State Park visitors, hunters, and hikers who also think some ideas and locations should never make it past the proposal stage.

**Just a reminder, DevilsLakeStatePark.com is owned by Skillet Creek Media and is not associated with the Wisconsin DNR in any way. My opinions do not represent those of the park or the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

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9 comments

  1. Maria Nelson

    Hi Derrick,
    Can you link or post any more information from the documents that made their way to your desk? The map is interesting but I would be curious to know more specific information, including the proposed timeline to open ATV trails, any info on times of day that they would be open, and plans to mitigate erosion on Burma Road. I don’t know much about how the road is maintained but I do know that erosion is already an issue, mostly due to heavy rain.
    Thanks!
    Maria


    1. Author
      derrick

      At this time I cannot post any more info. I don’t think anyone has reached the point of “timelines”. I think this is a general proposal that is just circulating now.

  2. Jim

    Derrick,
    I believe the majority of the ATV/UTV trails in Sauk County are not off-road trails. They are permitted “trails” on town roads, etc. I would love to see an off-road trail riding spot in this area. Although, I don’t feel Devil’s Lake is the area to do so. I always thought that the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area would be a good place for this. I believe that option was turned down last year was it? Central Wisconsin has an off-road area called Dyracuse that has always been a favorite of ours but something more local would benefit our attendance for sure.


  3. Author
    derrick

    It does look like it’s ATV access is mostly on-road around the county. It’s a tough one for sure. I understand folks wanting an ATV trail in the Baraboo Hills… I think the big issue is so many conflicting uses/needs in a tight space. I know there was a push for ATVs in Badger, but there is a significant issue with wildlife out there, particularly with grassland birds and their habitat and breeding requirements. In my own experience exploring out there since it opened, I think people see badger as much bigger than it is. Often not realizing that the DNR got the scraps around the USDA & Ho-Chunk lands. I doubt either USDA or the Ho-Chuck would accept anything within hearing distance of their borders which really, covers most of the SPRA. That’s before accounting for all the other vested interests concerns.

  4. mary

    NO,,NO,,NO,,NO,,,,NO,,,,,,,,,WE had the privilege of walking the south bluff,,,the west side of Burma,,,,where that little waterfall is w/the gorgeous little pool of water,,,and I mean little,,,enough for our local bear to sit in eaten his wild blackberries that are growing out the west side of the creek,,NO,,NO,,NO,,,, atv will ruin all that,,,it will ruin the peaceful SOUND OF SILENCE,, over by Burma,,,all the way to the old 12,,,IT IS SOOOOO QUIET,,PEACEFUL,,,U CAN IMAGE A TIME GONE BY,,,THINKEN HOW THE HECK DID HORSES MAKE IT THRU HERE,,,TYPE SERENTITY,,,
    NO-WAY,,,,ON THESE ATVS,,,NO,,NO,,NO,,,,,,IT WILL LITERALLY KILL THE SOUND OF SILENCE,,,OVER THERE!!!!!maryw

  5. Robert Spencer

    Derrick,
    I am the founder of the Tawacunchukdah Trail Concept. I also enjoy the great outdoors, but like many other Senior Citizens are limited to access to many of the in Sauk County Area.
    Just in Sauk County there are claims of over 15,000 acres in conservancy and only 3.25 miles of ATV Public Trails, (which are owned by Sauk County and maintained by a local area ATV Club), how is that a fair balance of use of of OUR Natural Resources?

    Don’t OUR tax dollars also support the State Parks?
    In the Wisconsin Southwest Region, which includes Sauk, Juneau and Columbia and 22 other counties, there are over 92,654 registered ATVs and over 8,789 registered UTVs.
    That’s $3,043,290.00 raised in revenue for the State every 2 years. With the growing trend, it will be much greater and that’s without the revenue generated by gas tax for the State of Wisconsin.

    The Cheese Country Trail in Green County is a multi-use trail and has generated over $15,354,699 in income for their area.
    That’s income that would benefit our Sauk County Area.
    I for one, hate to trailer my machine to Black River Falls, Minong, Hayward or any place in Minnesota to enjoy the use of Public Trails. I would much rather spend my money here and support our local businesses.
    We care to share our resources not dominate them, can you same the same?

    The Tawacunchukdah Trail, is only my concept at this time.
    Da-Wa-Kah-char-gra”
    Meaning Sacred or Spirit Lake. The name given to Devil’s Lake by the first people who experienced it’s beauty and splendor, the Ho Chunk People.

  6. Robert Spencer

    I guess, I may have struck a nerve.
    Just in Sauk County, there are claims of over 15,000 acres in conservancy and only 3.25 miles of ATV Public Trails, (which are owned by Sauk County and maintained by a local area ATV Club), how is that a fair balance of use of of OUR Natural Resources?

    Don’t OUR tax dollars also support the State Parks?
    In the Wisconsin Southwest Region alone, which includes Sauk, Juneau and Columbia and 22 other counties, there are over 92,654 registered ATVs and over 8,789 registered UTVs.
    That’s $3,043,290.00 raised in revenue for the State every 2 years. With the growing trend, it will be much greater and that’s without the revenue generated by sales tax and gas tax for the State of Wisconsin.

    The Cheese Country Trail in Green County is a multi-use trail and has generated over $15,354,699 in income for their area.
    That’s income that would benefit our Sauk County Area.
    I for one, hate to trailer my machine to Black River Falls, Minong, Hayward or any place in Minnesota to enjoy the use of Public Trails. I would much rather spend my money here and support our local businesses.


  7. Author
    derrick

    Hey Robert,

    Thanks for your responses via email, facebook posts and comments on the blog. You can take heart in that my opinion holds little water with anyone. LOL! That said I support the concept of an ATV trail, but not this one.

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