THANK YOU to all our members who came out for the May 12 hearing during the County Commissioner’s meeting! We had a great turnout. Thanks to everyone for taking time out to show support!   Unfortunately, the county board DID NOT pass a motion to open the Gunflint Trail sections we requested. Even though ATV supporters far out-numbered the anti-ATVers at the meeting, the anti-motor folks cast enough doubt through letters and email that the commissioners agreed to “revisit” the ordinance process.

If you’d like to watch a video of the hearing, visit:,AAAA6xwhTPk~,EKtnKr93fHnZ9xndC0I9pDhHA_SjTUHQ&bclid=1342907367001&bctid=4234337608001 (Fast forward to 1:35:48 for the discussion on ATVs on the Gunflint).   John Bottger, who was on the ATV ordinance task force originally, insisted that the Gunflint wasn’t opened in the original ordinance before because it was too dangerous, no shoulders, high speeds, etc…..  He and his wife are getting all the anti-ATV folks on the Gunflint fired up. They are saying that we are “incrementally” taking over all the roads.

Yes, there have been changes to the ATV ordinance. When it was reviewed in 2013, the county highway department requested opening about a mile of the Gunflint Trail to ATV traffic, from the Devil Track Road (Four Corners) to County Road 60. This was not initiated by the ATV Club, the highway department made that request. However, it shows that ATVing on the Gunflint Trail has not been a problem.

The Cook County ATV Club has never made it a secret that we believe all county roads should be open to ATVs. No one wants to ride 50 miles on a road, but we do want to be able to use our ATV for a mile or two here and there to reach a neighbor’s house, a berry patch or in the case of MidTrail, to get to a restaurant!

The outcome of the hearing is that Commissioners Frank Moe and Garry will be putting together a committee to look at what was done by the ATV task force. That task force met for three years to get the ordinance completed.  Hopefully once they meet, reason will prevail and another hearing will be scheduled and commissioners will adopt the changes to the ATV Road Ordinance to open the sections needed to reach Trail Center, Hungry Jack Lodge, Windigo Lodge, Nor’Wester Lodge and Big Bear Lodge.

So, stay tuned!


Great news on Gunflint route

by admin on May 4, 2015

Great News! Based on the success of the Cook County ATV-Road Ordinance (enacted in 2009), the U.S. Forest Service has opening 41 miles of forest road in the Superior National Forest Gunflint District and 13 miles in the Tofte District to mixed use of passenger vehicles and OHVs. That means ATVS can legally ride on roads such as Pine Mountain Road, Bally Creek Road, South Brule Road, and several more.

Thanks to U.S. Forest Service Recreation Specialist Jon Benson and the other U.S. Forest Service staff for working with the ATV Club and giving ATVers this opportunity to make some great, longer rides. The decision on this mixed recreation has been made and implementation began in March 2015. The club is working on getting a list of roads together for members—stay tuned!

The purpose of opening these forest roads is to create connections between forest roads and county roads that are currently open. One of the primary routes sought by local ATVers and business owners is from Devil Track Lake to the mid-Gunflint Trail area. The Forest Service decision nearly accomplishes that goal. The Forest Service has opened much of the Gunflint snowmobile trail and the Pine Mountain Road, South Brule Road and Lima Grade Road for mixed recreation use.

However, there are no forest road connections to get us to Mid-Trail businesses. And because the Gunflint Trail (County Road 12) is closed to ATV traffic above County Road 60, the connection is incomplete. To complete the route, two short segments of the Gunflint Trail are needed—from Pine Mountain Road to South Brule Road and then from Lima Grade Road to Big Bear Lodge.

The 1.4-mile section of the Gunflint Trail from Pine Mountain Road to South Brule Road is a straight stretch with a corner near South Brule Road. There are gravel shoulders.

The second section from Lima Grade Road to Big Bear Lodge is a fairly straight stretch of road with paved shoulders. Most of it is included in the 40-mile-per-hour speed zone. Opening this stretch would allow ATVers to access the following businesses that have expressed interest in welcoming customers and/or guests arriving by ATV.

The mileage to interested businesses is:

Lima Grade to the 40 mile-per-hour zone             .6 miles

Lima Grade to Hungry Jack Road                               .9 miles (Hungry Jack Road is open to ATV use now).

Lima Grade to Trail Center Lodge                              1 mile

Lima Grade to Old Northwoods                                 1.8 miles

Lima Grade to Windigo                                                  2.4 miles

Lima Grade to Big Bear Lodge                                     2.6 miles

If you would like to finally be able to ride from Devil Track to Trail Center for a burger or Big Bear Lodge for pizza, or anyplace in between, let county commissioners know!

As has happened in the past, folks that don’t like ATVs will be filling our commissioners’ inboxes with “concerns.” But Cook County ATVers and visitors have proven this wrong. ATVers have been riding in the city of Grand Marais (with its much busier traffic) since 2006 with no accidents or serious complaints. The Cook County ATV-Road Ordinance passed in 2009 and we’ve been riding on the Cramer Road, Sawbill Trail, Caribou Trail and the Arrowhead Trail ever since without any accidents or serious complaints.

Let commissioners know how you feel about opening these two short sections of the Gunflint Trail! There will be a public hearing to consider making this change to the Cook County ATV-Road Ordinance, Tuesday, May 12 at 10 a.m. in the commissioners’ room at the courthouse. Show up and speak up!

If you can’t make the meeting, email or call your commissioner soon!

District 1 – Frank Moe                    218-368-0661

District 2 – Garry Gamble              218-370-2547

District 3 – Jan Sivertson               218-387-2838

District 4 – Heidi Doo-Kirk             218-387-2928

District 5 – Ginny Storlie                                                      

If you have questions, please contact the Cook County ATV Club at








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