10 years later, our rally cry remains: open the Woodtick!
It all began 10 years ago on Stony Loop near Hackensack. When the Chippewa National Forest closed the Woodtick Trail to off-highway vehicles (OHVs) in 2008, local riding opportunities were reduced from 100 miles of loops to a 10-mile dead end. An organizational meeting was held, attended by 55 riders, and representatives from the DNR, Cass County, ATVAM and the Chip. One month later the club was formed.
A lot of people ask us why the Woodtick Trail is still closed to OHVs. Back then, we were told it was closed for a number of reasons, including that there were too many curves (which in reality is a good thing, keeping speed down), that the ditches were too steep (not any steeper than Forest Roads open to OHVs), and that there was a redtail hawk nest along the Woodtick Trail (apparently, hawks don’t mind logging trucks, pickup trucks and Harleys, but are troubled by ATVs).
Over the years, we requested and lobbied the Chippewa National Forest to get the entire Woodtick Trail opened to OHVs, then just 9 miles, then just 1 mile, to improve access to the Forest Roads on public lands, the lands we all own.
Each time, we were denied. Minnesota’s other National Forest, the Superior National Forest, works closely with many OHV clubs, and county and state agencies, to build OHV trail systems, bridges and maps for motorized recreation. Unfortunately, as seen in a number of meetings with our club and representatives of ATVAM, MN4WDA, MNUSA and ARMCA, the Chippewa National Forest has leaders who are opposed to motorized recreation. So our club has been unsuccessful in its attempts to open the Woodtick Trail to OHVs.
On the bright side, 10 years later, the club has grown to 400 members, holds 10 club rides each summer, has DNR-certified Trail Ambassadors, DNR-trained ATV safety instructors, an ATV Search and Rescue Team with the Sheriff’s Dept., and much more.
The Woodtick Wheelers are proud of its partnerships with local towns, the DNR and Cass County on many communityrelated projects. And we continue to say to the Chippewa National Forest — Open the Woodtick!
Dave Halsey, president
Woodtick Wheelers ATV Club