Letter in the March 21 Tomahawk Leader:
To the Editor:
We live on Pier Street north of Merrill. The snowmobile trail has run along Pier Street for about eight years. At first it was a two-way trail on the west side of the road. In the last four years it has become a one-way trail on each side – west side south and east side northbound. Until this year the trail went across the ends of our driveways. I had it posted with a “No Trespassing” sign on our lawn. In December the operator of the trail groomer decided that the trail should go straight over our lawn.
I was home at the time and there was a heated discussion. I called the Lincoln County Sheriff for a deputy. He came out along with Department of Natural Resources Warden Rick Peters. The operator and club members said they could go anywhere they wanted to on the right of way. They left after running the groomer across the ends of the driveway as before.
On the following Monday, I went to the highway department for information on right of ways. I received paper work showing a right of way of 66 feet – in other words 33 feet of right of way on each side from the center line of the road.
I contacted Warden Peters with this information. An individual from the club called and said I was wrong because he had the highway commissioner check and was told right of way is 120 feet – or 60 feet from the center line. I was told they would go wherever they want.
I removed my sign and posts. The trail is out as far on my lawn as they can go. They should come back with the groomer and finish scraping the grass off and I’m sure they can break more branches off my trees.
As soon as the trail went over my north driveway they moved back to the center of the ditch – 33 feet from the center line. The trail on the other side of Pier Avenue follows the shoulder the same way the trail by my driveway used to.
I received many phone calls before this individual got his way with the trail location that were just shy of allowing me to file harassment charges.
A friend told me that 25 percent of people own snowmobiles, but 5 percent cause all the problems. I’ve met that 5 percent.
What’s next? Is the county highway department going to clear cut 60 feet up Pier Street over other people’s lawns so they can ride their snowmobiles?
I have a three wheeler and family members have snowmobiles and four wheelers. I know decent people in this club but this individual seems to dictate what is done – legally of course.
Problems such as I’ve experienced are why more and more landowners are closing their land to snowmobilers.
Special thanks to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and DNR Warden Peters for their help with this matter.