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Should ATVs be allowed on trails within Duluth city limits?

According to an article in today’s DNT, City Councilor Jay Fosle has “introduced a resolution asking city staff to consider the feasibility of opening one or more city trails for ATV use. The resolution is on the consent agenda, which means its passage is virtually assured Monday night.”

Duluth city councilor seeks to open city trails to ATVs

29 Comment(s)

  1. I’m surprisingly in favor of this. There is plenty of space in town and there should be a place for well-designed, appropriately placed ATV trails.

    All that’s being requested is for City staff to “consider the feasibility.” There will be much opportunity for public input before any tire touches trail. Councilor Fosle’s going about this the right way.

    Nick L | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  2. I walk regularly on the ATV/Snowmobile trail in West Duluth, it’s close to my house and flat if I don’t feel like doing the SHT. Theoretically, I am in favor of a trail in the city for motorized vehicles but unfortunately, the ATVs completely wreck the ground. They do circle spins, drive over little trees and brush, veer way off the trail and go into the woods, go way too fast and the tires make long, very deep ruts that never dry out. The snowmobiles go way too fast but don’t rip up the ground. This is not one driver, I have been walking this trail for years and have seen many different ATVs doing the same crap. I get it that I am choosing to walk on a designated ATV/snowmobile trail and in doing so have to deal with the consequences but if the drivers had good trail manners it would be much easier to cheerfully share. Based on my experience I would vote no.

    StarryNight | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  3. Give them their own trail. Let them maintain/ruin it. I’m jaded on the ATV issue after having most of my favorite trails while growing up (just outside of town) completely destroyed by ATVs.

    A responsibility code would need to be enforced. Wet trail = stay off. Doubt that would happen as (from my observations) a wet trail is ripe for shredding on an ATV. Maybe buy a old gravel pit or something and let them tear it to shreds.

    ian | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  4. We used to allow ATV on city trails till they did so much damage, it had to be stopped. Giving them their own trail is the best option. I would think that they could apply for some Legacy Funding for this, too. But, let hikers and skiers be free from the hassle of dodging other people’s motorized fun.

    TimK | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  5. StarryNight, whatever trail you are referring to — and I suspect it is the DWP trail behind the zoo — it is not an ATV trail. The riders who use it are doing so illegally. Snowmobiles are legal there, but ATVs are not legal on any trails in Duluth. That’s why Councilor Fosle wants to designate a legal one.

    I think this is way overdue. I don’t ride ATVs and I suspect my most frequently used trail would be a candidate to become an ATV trail, but nonetheless, I think the city should offer at least one legal option.

    Probably 90 percent of trails in the city should never allow ATV use because of the damage they can do, but there are a few options where the damage would be minimal and the users would feel obliged to maintain the terrain.

    Paul Lundgren | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  6. I’m with Lundgren on this one. It ticks me off whenever I see hiking and cycling trails ruined because of ATVs. That said, if they’ve got no place to roam, then they’re going to resort to riding trails they shouldn’t be on in the first place.

    Therefore, let them have a trail or two. I’d be curious to see what the feasibility study would say.

    jwood13 | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  7. I think this is an excellent idea. As others have stated, if we give them somewhere to ride legally, then it will alleviate the illegal riding and ruining of other trails.

    wileskws | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  8. I drove up Central Entrance today and thought, “Why not allow ATVs inside the Mall?” It was like I was channeling Herzog.

    TimK | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  9. From the DNT article, “if there’s a trail or trails set aside for them, maybe ATV riders won’t go where they shouldn’t,” she said, observing that staff has been asked to make a bit of “a leap of faith.” Bwahahaha!

    Within our Central MN town there are 4 miles of legal Grant-n-Aid snowmobile trails connecting to dozens outside of town. There is a 3/4 mile XC trail maintained and paid for by volunteers. Guess which one is constantly damaged by the users of the other one!

    Windnpine | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  10. I would support a trail dedicated for ATVs.

    matti | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  11. Just ban the stupid things on all public lands, roads, trails, etc. If you want to rip up your own land, go ahead.

    Shane | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  12. The News Tribune article says two things that don’t make sense.

    One is that people in Duluth shouldn’t have to trailer their ATVs so they can ride them legally. But no one is proposing making it legal to ride from any house, down city streets, over to whatever trail would be designated. Even if there is a trail, nearly everyone using their ATVs legally will have to trailer them to get to that trail anyway.

    The other is that if there were a legal ATV trail, it would cut down on illegal use. Experience in Minnesota and Wisconsin shows that the opposite is true. Wherever there are legal trails, ATV use increases, and so does illegal use.

    bluenewt | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  13. Allowing them inside the mall makes perfect sense. When everyone is most happy during retail therapy. Nothing promotes a healthy sense of consumerism more than the burning smell of two stoke oil. You could charge admission, lock the doors, seal the vents, and hit the gas.

    Smells like…Victory

    Herzog | Dec 6, 2013 | New Comment
  14. Loud, smelly ATVs being ridden by teenagers in the city limits? Seriously? It will encourage illegal use on the other trails, once they get used to the idea.

    Sam | Dec 7, 2013 | New Comment
  15. The damage that ATVs do to trails is permanent. They tear them down to a level where the viable topsoil blows or washes away, and nothing can ever grow there again. Hence, mudpits at all low points, and devastation of all neighboring plant life. Turning trails into post-Apocalyptic nightmares is nobody’s right.

    Eve Browning | Dec 7, 2013 | New Comment
  16. Exactly. ATV riders already ride illegally all over the place on the edges of Duluth, making permanent mudpits wherever they go. And if you think giving them designated trails is going to make them suddenly into law-abiding citizens, you’re nuts. All it’s going to do is increase the problem.

    hbh1 | Dec 7, 2013 | New Comment
  17. If something is a trail, then by definition we don’t want anything to grow there. That’s what makes it a trail. Trees, bushes and flowers to the left and right, dirt below. In the case of ATV trails, they will almost certainly be on old gravel railroad beds.

    Paul Lundgren | Dec 7, 2013 | New Comment
  18. We have the ability to study it and find a reasonable answer to fit landowners, traditional users of designated trails as well as groups in support of legal ATV trails.

    As far as people that tear stuff up -- who are we kidding? You can’t fix stupid by building a system of ATV trails within the city. Enforcement becomes the challenge for that. I see some happy cops with brand new machines coming!

    As a user of many trails, I agree, get them an option that is safe and well known. Then we can all enjoy this beautiful city -- two stroke stench and all!

    andye | Dec 7, 2013 | New Comment
  19. Did you know that if you take the muffler off they can go faster!!! And the big knobby tires let you go ANYWHERE!!! “This is America, damn it. I can do what ever I damn well please. No commie/socialist is going to tell me where to go and ride.”

    That’s a direct quote from a neighbor of mine. He’s a member of a local ATV Club. He and his kids use the township road to race back and forth all day long.

    Bless us and save us.

    B.I.N.G.O. | Dec 7, 2013 | New Comment
  20. We’re definitely better off not having to listen to that awful noise perpetually. It’s bad enough in summer when at all times, someone within two houses of me is mowing the lawn.

    piker | Dec 7, 2013 | New Comment
  21. I don’t get why ATV owners think trailering their ATV to a location outside of the city to use it is a unnecessary burden. If you own a gun, there is no assumption that you can just start shooting wherever you want. You know as a (responsible) gun owner that you either need to go out to rural areas, or some designated place for shooting your guns.

    BadCat! | Dec 7, 2013 | New Comment
  22. I have to go with Shane. To quote: “Just ban the stupid things on all public lands, roads, trails, etc. If you want to rip up your own land, go ahead.”

    Bret | Dec 7, 2013 | New Comment
  23. I’d like to be able to try my trail bike on an actual trail at least once, but we’re talking ATV trails, and you know what they don’t allow on most ATV trails? Motorbikes! So I’m going to pout and say “screw ‘em.”

    The snowmobile trail by Spirit Mountain is an excellent example of the destruction caused by ATV riders in wet areas. What starts out as a puddle in a low spot grows and grows over the years, and what are they going to do—drive in with a dump truck and fill it in? Riiiight.

    Karasu | Dec 7, 2013 | New Comment
  24. There is no public benefit to allowing ATV trails in the city. ATV owners are a very small percentage of the population and they have enough trails already.

    Aldin | Dec 7, 2013 | New Comment
  25. ATVs are a cancer on the woods. The attitude that they’ll just ride anyway, so give them permission, is exactly why.

    SuperX | Dec 8, 2013 | New Comment
  26. In an ideal circumstance I think having a dedicated ATV trail is not a bad idea. The problem is, as others have pointed out there seems to be a tendency for many (not all) ATV riders to ignore even current regulations, so I fail to see why they would suddenly abide by newer, slightly more permissive regulations. There is real concern about ability of enforcement, the city barely enforces things such as “must shovel within 24 hours,” and there are numerous ATV tracks in already illegal areas of the city. So I dunno. Again I would be in favor of channeling the practice if there is actual data to suggest that it actually works.

    Perhaps a “if you are caught riding anywhere not on that dedicated trail your machine is impounded” or a similar catastrophic consequence.

    edgeways | Dec 8, 2013 | New Comment
  27. I talked to a couple of city council members about this idea. They said the current proposal just calls for gathering information about the feasibility of an ATV trail. They also said it would go in West Duluth.

    bluenewt | Dec 9, 2013 | New Comment
  28. I wonder if they will make the snowmobile trail I currently walk on in West Duluth an ATV trail. I thought it was but as Paul pointed out, it is not legally an ATV trail. I assumed it was because there are numerous ATVs on it almost every day, all spring, summer and fall, they completely don’t care that it’s not legal. People are now dumping garbage there as well -- sad.

    StarryNight | Dec 9, 2013 | New Comment
  29. If you build it they will come.

    B-man | Dec 9, 2013 | New Comment

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