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Apple River Riders gaining ground as ATV club

Although it has only been organized for less than a year, the Apple River Riders ATV Club has already gotten several accomplishments under its collective belt.

Not only is it a social club for people interested in the ATV sport, but members have also taught safety classes and established trail routes.

Scott Radman, president, said that the club started out of the growing interest in the sport of ATV riding.

He had been vice president of an ATV club in Amery before learning the Town of Alden wanted a local club to open up routes in their area. The Amery club would help out only if another club participated, so Radman set up a night in February for anyone interested in an ATV club to attend.

"We met at the Star Prairie Community Center and, to my surprise, there was a fairly large showing," said Radman.

The fledgling group has a lot to do in order to be a "regular" club. They had to get licenses and documentation to be a non-profit, as well as consult with the Department of Natural Resources requirements and local agencies.

Fred Eaves has been an avid ATV rider since buying his first ATV - a 2001 Traxtor Max - in 2002. He helped Radman start the club and anticipates all the red tape will be done by early 2012.

"We want to get fully established as a club," said Eaves, "and determine the club members' needs and establish activities to meet those needs."

To that end, this fall the club held safety classes for those 12 and up, since that is the minimum age for people to have a safety certificate to ride alone on Wisconsin trails. Thirteen students learned from DNR instructors, local rescue services and certified club members.

"We used DNR equipment to give students an actual driving experience on a course set up in the parking lot," said Radman.

They are planning on holding another class session in the spring at New Richmond High School for anyone 12 and older who is interested in the ATV sport.

Eaves estimated that he logs about 1,000 miles each summer, as well as snowmobiling in the winter. He said the hardest part of ATV riding is finding someplace to ride.

"The cost is becoming more and more of a challenge," he began. "Not just the ride itself, but the cost of getting somewhere to ride."

With this in mind, the group has cleaned up the Cattail Trail and is working on getting routes established from Star Prairie to the Cattail Trail and Clear Lake Trail. Radman said the route will go through three towns to the Cattail Trail.

"When we get these routes in place, we will be working on getting trails to compliment these routes. A route is a roadway and a trail is a path that is normally not a roadway, such as abandoned railways or simple paths through the countryside," explained Radman.

The club also has social rides scheduled throughout the year. The members decide where they want to ride and when; usually one person will organize and lead the ride. Rest stops and food breaks are planned, as well as the type of terrain and how to stay in contact with each member of the ride.

"When you come to a turn, you don't leave until you make contact with the individual behind you so they know the club is making a turn and that way the group stays together," said Radman.

Though it may sound like the riders are disturbing the flora and fauna, he said that the club is determined that the ATVs do no damage to the environment.

"A good ATV rider makes sure that the trail they use is as good as or better than before they used it," he said.

The club's next meeting will be at the Star Prairie Sports Bar on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend.

For more information about the Apple River Riders ATV Club, visit their website at www.appleriverridersat