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Meeting scheduled to discuss the use of ATVs and UTVs on secondary roads in Winneshiek County

Posted: Wed, Jul 11, 2018 10:24 AM

Adam Thornton of Thornton's Feed & Grain Inc. and Jeremy Bjerke of Highlandville have scheduled a meeting on July 26th at 7:00 p.m. at the Danan Lansing building at the Winneshiek County fairgrounds. Thornton is hoping to create an ordinance for ATVs and UTVs to drive on secondary roads in Winneshiek County.

They collected over 1,500 signatures from residents this spring petitioning the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors to pass an ordinance to allow ATV/UTVs access to Secondary Roads.

When asked Thornton why Winneshiek County would benefit from this ordinance he said, "As owners of ATV/UTVs we find it discouraging that we spend our hard-earned money on these machines and have to travel outside of the county/state to enjoy using them. We often ride in surrounding counties/states and other riders/business owners tell us they would love to be able to travel into Winneshiek County and are very supportive of our quest to get this ordinance passed. With this ordinance Winneshiek County would see an increase in sales at restaurants, cabins, campgrounds, hotels, convenience stores, and powersport dealers. The ATV/UTV market has seen a large increase in the last few years as the sport has become more affordable and the lack of snow has made the market more appealing to purchase a machine that can be used year-round. The decline of snowmobile users has had a negative effect on the local economy. This has found many users selling their snowmobiles and purchasing an ATV/UTV, but until lately these machines haven't had a trail system to utilize. With about 1/3 of Iowa counties passing ATV/UTV ordinances in the past few years, the local economies have been showing growth in the businesses that these users utilize. Passing this ordinance would also introduce a new form of recreation for people for all ages to enjoy the beauty of our county, including people that are not able to enjoy the other more physically demanding recreations our county has to offer."

Thornton has had positive reactions to his proposal, saying, "As we approach people, we often hear the reaction that the counties surrounding Winneshiek have passed ordinances and they think it would be great if Winneshiek would join them. We have spoken with many people from other counties/states that would love to come and enjoy the opportunity to stay at our campgrounds/hotels and ride in our scenic county. Overall we have found that more people have been very supportive of this proposed ordinance than we had initially thought, as seen by the overwhelming amount of petition signatures we gathered in a relatively short amount of time."

"We have spoken with members of the board of supervisors from Allamakee and Howard County and they both had nothing but good to say about the ordinance.  Both of them also pointed out to us that they have had no serious incidents regarding safety. We have heard nothing but positive experiences in speaking with local law enforcement, Board of Supervisors and residents who live in other counties that have ATV/UTV ordinances. We look forward to meeting with other residents to gather support to get an ordinance passed in Winneshiek County," said Thornton.

Contact Adam Thornton at 563-380-7248 for more information or attend the meeting on Thursday, July 26th at 7:00 p.m at the Danan Lansing building on the Winneshiek County fairgrounds.