Wisconsin Woman Killed In ATV Accident Along River Embankment


Preface: The relevancy to Friends of North Duluth is the environment in which the accident took place. How many people need to be seriously injured or killed before Alders Reese and Nault begin putting the safety and concerns of the residents of the City of Sturgeon Bay above the financial interests of a select few?

A woman was killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident Friday in the Wisconsin township of Schley, authorities reported.

“The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said the 69-year-old woman was operating an ATV near the Prairie River in northern Wisconsin. It appeared she was attempting to maneuver the vehicle near an embankment, but drove the vehicle into the river, the sheriff’s office reported. The woman was found downstream a short distance from the accident and was pronounced dead at the scene.” – StarTribune

To Kirsten Reeths and Gary Nault:

As elected officials serving on the City of Sturgeon Bay Parking and Traffic Committee, you’ve offloaded the responsibility of ensuring safety to motorists, pedestrians and all those who traverse the proposed route to the residents who call this route home. It’s evident that you’ve done little to no due diligence in proposing this route. Based on your actions, it’s clear that the only voices you pay attention to are those of the business owners who have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Out of the 15 people who spoke at the Parking and Traffic Committee meeting on March 22nd, all 12 who stoke in opposition to the agenda item: ATV/UTV on N. Duluth Avenue between Elm St. and Bullhead Point share the following concerns:

  • Safety: The physical safety of themselves, their families, friends, and everyone who travels this route.The tranquility and environment which brought us all here in the first place.
  • Vision for the future: Retain and attract more residents who are passionate about exploring the beautiful landscape at a speed where you can actually appreciate it. The hikers, bicyclists, dog-walkers, and runners.
  • Faith In Our Elected Officials: Your actions exhibited thus far and to be made in the future make it clear whether you value the thousands of residents or the select few with financial interests.

Whereas two of the three in favor of the route had nothing to lose and only money to gain:

  • ATV/UTV Sales/Rentals: As one proponent of your route exclaimed proudly, he pays taxes on seven properties in Sturgeon Bay. I am struggling to find the one property which is a residential address rather than a storefront for motorized vehicles or a vacant lot.
  • Tourist Spending: There are plenty of places for tourists to enjoy in Sturgeon Bay. North Duluth Avenue dead ends at a bar. As a resident, it’s safe to assume you realize you’re introducing alcohol into this already dangerous equation.

We ask that you listen and act in the best interest of your residents who live along the proposed route rather than just the business owners with obvious financial incentives.

Further Context: ATV/UTV on N. Duluth Avenue between Elm St. and Bullhead Point

The ATV/UTV route proposed by Alders Kirsten Reeths and Gary Nault takes ATV and UTV riders down Highway C, down North Duluth Avenue to Bullhead Point presents similar risks as the latest tragic ATV accident. Furthermore, the risks are even greater given the following conditions (which Reeths and Nault would know if they’d take the time to survey the route themselves):

  • It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that ATV/UTV riders will be accustomed to hugging the shoulder (where there actually is one) of the paved and gravel roads, especially after traveling down the narrow, winding stretch along North Duluth. Once out on Bullhead Point, they will have been trained to ride in a similar fashion to avoid the pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
  • What makes Bullhead Point especially dangerous is that it’s lined with boulders and rocks that have been put in place to prevent further shoreline erosion. If an ATV/UTV rider were to oversteer or veer out of the way, they’d be colliding with boulders and then likely catapulted into either the frigid lake or the hard stone and gravel surface.

Alders Reeths and Nault, there’s still time to do the right thing.

Friends of North Duluth hope that the overwhelming quantitative and qualitative data we’ve already presented coupled with the safety concerns will lead you to make the right decision. Should the proposed route be approved and inevitably end in tragedy, history will accurately reflect the carelessness of Alders Kirsten Reeths and Gary Nault.

As residents of this proposed route, we will see everything and forget nothing. You will be held accountable.


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