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Colfax approves snowmobile ordinance and routes

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — Although spring has officially arrived, snowmobilers living in Colfax will be “good to go” with a new snowmobile ordinance and a set of approved routes for next year’s snowmobile season.

The ordinance has been written according to the discussion about the issue at the previous board meeting, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, at the Colfax Village Board’s March 12 meeting.

Niggemann also presented a resolution naming the snowmobile routes in the village.

Adopting the routes by resolution is preferable to including the routes in the ordinance, she said.

If the snowmobile routes were to change from year to year, approving them by resolution is faster and more efficient than changing a village ordinance, Niggemann said.

At issue is that while snowmobiles were given permission in the 1970s to use village streets to reach the trails or to buy fuel for their machines, somewhere along the line, the ordinance changed. Snowmobile riders found out recently that they are no longer allowed to operate on village streets.

The ordinance approved at the March 12 meeting prohibits riding snowmobiles on any public right-of-way, in any public park, golf course or any other public property within the village limits except on designated routes or trails designated by the village board annually.

The ordinance also prohibits riding on private property not controlled by the snowmobile rider. Riding on private property would require the consent and permission of the landowner.

The ordinance also specifically prohibits snowmobiles in any of the village’s parks unless part of the park is a designated route.

Colfax Police Chief William Anderson said he would have preferred snowmobiles not be allowed through the Colfax Fairgrounds and that the Colfax Sno-Drifters would have to keep an eye on the fairgrounds and enforce the ordinance themselves.

“Mike lives there,” noted Mark Halpin, village trustee.

Halpin was referring to Mike Buchner, president of the Colfax Sno-Drifters, who happens to live on the west side of the fairgrounds.

The ordinance directs and authorizes the Colfax Sno-Drifters to procure, put up and maintain appropriate snowmobile route or trail markers.

The ordinance also states that due to weather conditions or an emergency, the Chief of Police can close the snowmobile routes within the village.

Under ordinary circumstances, Dunn County officials determine whether the snowmobile trails are open throughout the county.

Routes or trails

The resolution establishes the Village of Colfax will meet with the Colfax Sno-Drifters annually to discuss the routes.

The approved routes will be published in the Colfax Messenger.

The routes for 2018-2019  will be the east side of Dunn Street to Railroad Avenue, east to county Highway M and north to state Highway 40.

The routes also will include the east side of Dunn Street to Railroad Avenue, east to the east driveway of the Colfax Fairgrounds, to the footbridge at the fairgrounds, across Highway 40 to Johnson-Olson Road and west on High Street to Colfax High School.

In addition, the route will include the east side of Dunn Street to Railroad Avenue and west to Synergy Cooperative.

The resolution states the Synergy Cooperative parking lot is the designated parking lot if snowmobile riders wish to visit any of the businesses located on Highway 40.

The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved the snowmobile ordinance and the resolution designating the snowmobile routes.

Village Trustee Casey Rihn was absent from the meeting.

In addition to Stene and Halpin, village trustees Carey Davis, David Wolff, Annie Jenson and Keith Burcham voted in favor approving the ordinance and the snowmobile routes.