by Sabrina Nucciarone
GREENBUSH — Passing laws to have everyone on the same page regarding recreational all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicle usage has been an arduous task, as the Town of Greenbush board found out. With enthusiasts anxious to expand their reach with the vehicles, illegal usage has been seen by at least one town supervisor, but it seems there is little that can be done until the ordinances are in place.
Enter Tom Kempke, of www.kettletrails.com. Actively attending the board meetings of several area towns, including the monthly town meeting in Greenbush, Kempke and his three associates have been busy writing the ordinance that Sheboygan County will most likely adopt, using language straight out of State of Wisconsin statutes and Department of Natural Resources ordinances.
Culled directly from the existing state laws on record, Kempke is writing what may be the definitive ordinance that towns and villages can review and adopt. The laws cover usage that would be effective statewide, but if towns add stipulations that do not exist in state laws it could be difficult to enforce, especially for areas without their own police force. As noted by Town of Greenbush Chairman Mike Limberg, “as soon as you have stipulations, you are setting yourself up to be responsible.”
“The ordinance is written from the DNR recommended ordinances,” Kempke said. “The state statutes will be enforced. If additional things are added, they may not be because law enforcement will follow DNR and DNR is enforceable by every agency in control.”
Signage regarding ATV use has supplied its own set of ongoing questions: Who will pay for them, where can they be put up, who is going to put them up and who is going to maintain them?
Answering at least part of the question is contained in Act 87, which according to Kempke, former Governor Scott Walker signed in support of state Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources to minimize signage expenses by allowing the signs to be posted at “edge of town” boundaries instead of putting signs on all four corners at every intersection. Even if this is how a town or village wishes to post the signs, the signs must be placed on their own post—using any state or federal signpost is illegal, just as it would be to place a garage sale sign on these posts.
The Kettle Trails group is a group of four men helping to set the legal ATV/UTV framework in the greater Sheboygan County area. Kempke and two of the other three present informed the board that they go to meetings, get the feedback from the towns and villages they are serving and help raise the money for signage.