Safety, insurance concerns table OHV Park expansion

Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: taxonomy_term in similarterms_taxonomy_node_get_terms() (line 518 of /home/swiftcounty/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 0 in similarterms_list() (line 221 of /home/swiftcounty/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in similarterms_list() (line 222 of /home/swiftcounty/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
admin's picture

Appleton’s 330-acre Off-Highway Vehicle Park has proven popular with those who like four-wheeling, dirt bike racing, and off-highway vehicle challenges.

It features 10 miles of off-road vehicle trails, 5 miles of ATV and off-highway motorcycle trails, 1.5 miles of off-highway motorcycle practice tracks, and three endure bike tracks. It has jumps, a water hole, dunes, hill climbs, and rock crawls.

Now the Swift County Parks, Drainage and Wetlands office is applying for a conditional use permit to expand into the nearby pit owned by Larson Gravel.

There is one hitch to the permit’s approval to address before the gravel pit becomes part of the OHV Park. Just to the east of the OHV park is the Appleton Sportsmen’s Club, which includes a shooting range for rifles and pistols, as well as a trap range for shotguns. High school youth leagues also use the trap range.

Larson Gravel’s pit sits to the north of the shooting range and on the other side of its berm, which was constructed to stop bullets fired on the range. Traveling from the OTV Park to the gravel pit would bring riders alongside the west side of the range and then across the north.

The Sportsmen’s club wants to ensure measures are in place to protect the safety of those using the OHV, but also want to make sure putting the Larson Gravel pit into the park doesn’t jeopardize its insurance policy.

The park needs to expand because it is getting overused, Parks, Drainage and Wetlands Supervisor Mike Johnson told commissioners at their Dec. 6 meeting.

Two planning commission members, Johnson, Environmental Services Director Scott Collins, Sheriff John Holtz, and gravel pit owner Larry Larson, toured the site to evaluate safety concerns. One of the points all agreed on was that there had to be barricades that would keep people off the shooting range berm as they head from the OHV park to the gravel pit. There would also have to be signage warning riders of the danger.

A berm is a natural attraction for someone riding a four-wheeler, Collins said. They see it and they are going to want to go up it, he said.

Riders are going to be 20 feet below the top of the berm, so no concern, Johnson said. “We just have to keep them off the berm so no riders can drive on the top,” he added.

The Sportsman’s Club was supportive of the park’s expansion, Collins said, but they are concerned with safety.

The county’s planning commission unanimously approved the conditional permit and turned the decision over to the county board....


For more on this story, and to keep up on all the latest news, subscribe to the Swift County Monitor-News print edition or our PDF internet edition. Call 320-843-4111 and you can get all the local news and sports delivered to you!

Rate this article: 
No votes yet