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ATV damage to ditches stirs up complaints with Hubbard County Board

The county highway department plans to host a meeting with the DNR and local clubs to address the issue.

The Hubbard County Highway Department is seeking a solution to the problem of ATVs damaging road approaches.

At Tuesday’s Hubbard County Board meeting, county commissioner Dan Stacey said he has received complaints about right-of-ways in his district, particularly County Roads 42, 25 and 4. “I believe this issue is probably going to fester and maybe boil over some time this year,” he said.

County commissioner David De La Hunt agreed, saying there’s damage to county approaches on County Road 9 and other heavily used places and it’s not getting fixed. “We’re looking for a longer-term solution here to the problem here.”

Hubbard County Public Works Coordinator Jed Nordin said he inspected the damage last winter. “It was basically countywide, and it’s significant.”

Nordin said there are state grant-in-aid trails that receive funding for maintenance, but that only covers a portion of local clubs’ costs. “You’ll see there are areas that get neglected a little bit,” he added.

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While the county highway department has taken on some maintenance along county and township road approaches, he doubted they should tackle private driveways. “Our concern with the ditches is the conveyance of water,” Nordin explained. “I don’t think we want to get into a situation where we’re maintaining private driveways. That’s the homeowner’s responsibility to get that to the road through use of a right-of-way.”

County commissioner Char Christenson asked if a landowner could put up a fence if their driveway is being damaged.

“They cannot. No obstacles are allowed within the road right-of-way. By law, the ATVs are allowed to go there, unless that’s a direction you want to take,” Nordin replied. “It’s a tough call. The problem’s not going away. There’s certain areas that get hit really, really hard.”

Nordin mentioned that Hubbard County attracts ATV riders, so there may be an economic impact.

Christenson asked if concrete approaches along State Hwy. 34 used grant-in-aid funding. Nordin said, to his knowledge, they do.

De La Hunt wondered if the heavily used areas could be identified, then find a solution with local clubs and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Nordin said he’d work to arrange a conference meeting.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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