ATV/UTV trail users in Wood County will soon benefit from the addition of more trails that will connect to existing town road routes and trail systems in adjacent counties.
Currently, 10 miles of trail are located within the Wood County ATV Intensive Use Area on Highway 54. This year, the plan is to designate and sign an additional seven miles of off-road trails, and 42 miles of existing on-road routes, as main line corridor routes. The action was approved by the Wood County Board of Supervisors in December.
The ATV Intensive Use Area will act as a trailhead for all of these routes, with additional trailheads being added in the future.
“Currently, we have started with 7 miles of trails. Each year, our committee will meet to discuss how we can expand the number of miles to even a larger trail system, but this takes time and a lot of money,” said Sandra Green, Snowmobile/ATV Trail Coordinator.
Costs for the project will come from county funds, grants to reimburse costs, and support from local ATV clubs. The Wood County Board authorized $48,300 from CIP debt proceeds to fund the 2019 development project. This includes costs associated with trail improvements and maintenance, sign purchasing and installation, and the development of 10 ATV camping sites at Dexter County Park.
The seven added trail miles will be located in the Town of Port Edwards on an existing section that was originally used as a County Forest Road. Proposed main line routes are 14 miles from Pittsville/Dexter Park to Jackson County, 16 miles from the Wood County ATV Area to Juneau and Jackson counties, and 12 miles from the Wood County ATV Area to Nekoosa through Saratoga to Adams County.
Main line routes, which are signed and mapped, are designed to attract riders to Wood County trail heads, businesses, and points of interests, and connect to other developed trail networks. The economic impact is estimated to be $355 to $427 per rider from visitors to Wood County.
Extending ATV trails in Wood County poses several challenges – multiple townships have restrictions against the use of ATVs on roads, and state highways block routes. The county also has limited potential for trail development in the near future due to its wetlands, soil type, and segmented lands.
Despite these challenges, Wood County is working with local townships, the state DOT, and the DNR, to find additional opportunities for trails and connections between existing routes.