Groups sue Okanogan County for opening roads to ATVs
OKANOGAN — Two conservation groups have sued to block the opening of nearly all of Okanogan County’s roads to ATVs.
NCW — Political leaders in Chelan and Douglas counties are holding off on any decisions to open roads to all terrain vehicles, despite a new state law that eases restrictions on them.
Chelan County commissioners won’t immediately take action, Commissioner Keith Goehner said Wednesday.
Douglas County commissioners asked their county engineer to look into the issue, said Dayna Prewitt, the commission’s clerk.
The new law, approved last month, lets cities and counties open their roads with speed limits of up to 35 mph to street-legal, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), or small-sized off-road vehicles (ORVs).
The East Wenatchee City Council this week voiced preliminary support for opening city roads to ATVs.
Chelan County allows use of the vehicles on “primitive roads” — rustic routes that generally are not paved or maintained — but that’s as far as commissioners want to go for now, Goehner said.
“As for additional roads, we’re taking a wait-and-see approach,” he said. “Because the axles on the four-wheelers are fixed, they don’t turn as sharply. That’s the concern we have.”
Commissioners will host a public hearing in the near future to gather feedback on easing county rules further, Goehner said. No date has yet been set. “Generally, people are asking for more flexibility,” he said.
In Douglas County, commissioners were asked last week by 10 or 15 people who came to a commission meeting to open roads with speed limits under 35 mph to ATVs, Prewitt said. “The county engineer is looking over the legislation. It appears to be very confusing,” she said.
If commissioners do decide to consider opening roads to ATVs, they will host public meetings for input, and a hearing, she said. No dates have been set.