A new system will help improve safety and emergency responses to recreational trails in the Blue Hills of northwest Rusk County.
The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office along with Rusk Riders ATV Club, Rusk County Forestry, Rusk County Emergency Management and Rusk County Land and Conservation Department have implemented a 911 trail marker system along the county’s ATV trails in this area.
This 911 marker system will start at the trail head off the end of Kozak Road, off County F about one mile north of Weyerhaeuser. It will run along the ATV trail to the Rusk/Sawyer County line, and then east along the new Exeland Trail.
The new 911 markers were installed on Friday, Oct. 19. There were 28 markers installed, funded through ATV registration fees. Rusk County Sheriff’s Deputy George Murray and Rusk Riders ATV Club members Dave Williams, Rick Cote and Arian Knops pounded in new posts and bolted the signs together.
“I saw this idea and thought not only will it be good publicity for our trails, but it will make it much easier for dispatchers should an emergency arise,” Sheriff’s Deputy George Murray said.
The 911 marker system is very similar to mile markers along a highway. There will be a 911 marker placed along the trail every mile with a number on it to indicate the riders location if an emergency arises.
If there is an emergency along the ATV trail the rider can tell the 911 dispatcher the marker number, and the dispatcher will know where to direct emergency responders.
Rusk Riders President Dave Williams called the trail signs, “Awesome.”
“Sawyer County already has them so we might as well get on board too,” Williams said. “It is going to help people know where they are at if they break down or if there is a medical emergency.”
Similar signs are already in place in Sawyer and Washburn counties’ trails that connect to the Rusk County trail system.
Having such a system gives ATV riders from out of the area or those not familiar with their location a safer and faster way to access help if needed.
ATV safety is becoming a bigger issue for riders, according to Murray. He added ATV and UTVs are also growing in popularity.
“I think this program adds more safety for ATV riders,” Murray said.
Funding for this project was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources trail maintenance fund.