OHVs, ATVs on gravel roads topic of discussion

Driving off-highway vehicles (OHVs) or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on Greene County’s unpaved road would be allowed if county resident Mike Wahl, and what he reports to be a growing number of OHV/ATV enthusiasts, have their way.

Wahl spoke with the county supervisors during the open forum of their meeting Tuesday. According to Wahl, the use of OHVs for recreation has grown but the places where they’re allowed on roadways has not. He asked the supervisors to consider an ordinance allowing them on gravel roads, with a county registration of OHVs for recreational use as a possible revenue source.

According to county recorder Marcia Tasler, ATVs are registered in her office for agricultural use. Farmers pay an initial title and registration fee. There are counties in Iowa, though, where ATVs are registered annually for recreational use as Wahl suggests.

Wahl owns an OHV/ATV that he operates primarily in Dickinson County, he said. There, the vehicles are allowed on gravel roads, but where they cross paved roads is regulated.

If the vehicles were allowed on county gravel roads, the next question would be designated routes in the county’s towns. “There would be a designated route so you could drive your ATV in to get gas at Casey’s, or to go to 209 Main,” Wahl said.

Wahl had spoken previously with the supervisors about the ordinance but made no progress. “Our hesitancy is that once you open a can of worms, you don’t know what to expect, and you can’t get them back in once you open them,” supervisor chair John Muir said.

Operating an ATV/OHV requires a valid driver’s license. Sheriff Steve Haupert, who was at the meeting, said enforcement would be the same as for moving violations of motor vehicles.

Tasler said she would compile information from counties that register the vehicles and allow them to be driven on gravel roads. “I’ve had a lot of customers that want it,” Tasler said. “The people that have asked me want to follow the rules. They won’t go out and drive the gravel roads without this,” she added.

The supervisors will revisit the subject when Tasler provides more information. “We might as well address it at some level,” Muir said.

 

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