ATV trails still closed in Oconto County and across the Northwoods

April 29, 2022

Eric Peterson, Fox 11 News


ATV trails still closed in Oconto County and across the Northwoods.

OCONTO COUNTY (WLUK) -- Many in the Northwoods are gearing up for the ATV season to begin.

In Oconto County, people are waiting for warmer weather to help dry up the trails.

With Thursday morning temperatures hovering around freezing, some ATV club leaders say the spring is off to a slow start.

"The conditions could be better. The frost is still down where the trails have been. I heard that the frost had penetrated up to seven feet down," said Bob Lepkowski, Dusty Trails ATV Club President.

Lepkowski says club members have been working to clear trees and brush from the trails in the Mountain area.

"We're going to do whatever they ask us to do to get the show on the road so-to-speak," he said.

"It's a wait and see spring," said Monty Brink, Oconto County Forest and Parks Administrator.

Brink says hundreds of miles of trails criss-cross the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, including five Northwoods counties.

"We're in conversations with our neighboring counties to coordinate a date of when we'll be opening," he said.

But there's one trail that won't be opening at all. Oconto County decided to close a two-mile section of the Pipeline Trail, because of what Brink calls environmental damage.

"You can see holes where people have spun donuts. Just spin their tires, and go through the water. Splash the water out. Make the hole bigger," he said.

And that's not all. Brink says a natural gas pipeline runs along the trail, and he worries that could be damaged as well. Meanwhile, signs alert riders of the changes, and ATV club leaders are hoping for better weather.

"More warm weather than we've had. It'll take a little rain to bring the frost up out of the ground, and then we can open our trails," said Lepkowski.

County leaders say by next week, they expect to have an update as to when the trails might be open.

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