Gillett promotes ATV riding

‘ATV Capital of the World’ trademark renewed

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This city of Gillett logo, adopted in 2011, combines the skyline of buildings and a church steeple with the “ATV Capital of the World” message.

For the next 10 years, anyone looking for the ATV capital of the world will find it in Gillett. The Gillett City Council on Thursday renewed the city’s “ATV Capital of the World” trademark, spending $1,690 for the 10-year renewal.

“It’s promotional. It’s an earmark of the community,” said Jerry Luther, chair of the city’s tourism and marketing committee.

Securing the trademark for another decade is important for tourism in Gillett, he said.

“Our motel is full almost every weekend with ATVers. It brings extra money to the community,” he said.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, direct visitor spending totalled $83.8 million in Oconto County in 2015. Total business sales related to tourism was estimated at $116.4 million.

Luther wasn’t sure when the city first trademarked the motto but estimated it was at least 10 years ago. The city incorporated the motto into its logo, and trails are marked with the “ATV Capital of the World” emblem.

Major William Pecha said he can judge the economic impact of ATV use by looking at the number of trucks and trailers in the parking lot at Zippel Park, where ATV riders start their ride, and by seeing ATV riders buying gas at the local stations. He said it’s a niche for the city to publicize.

The local ATV club, the Gillett Sno & ATV Riders, maintains 18 miles of trails through Gillett, Underhill and Maple Valley. The trails connect with the Nicolet State Trail, which runs 89 miles through Oconto, Florence and Forest counties and the Nicolet National Forest.

According to Pecha, the city is renewing its effort to secure grant funding for a trail head building at Zippel Park, near the Nicolet Trails Campground. Design proposals developed in 2014 included a computerized kiosk with trail information, vending machines, picnic tables, restrooms and shower facilities. Other proposed improvements were an asphalt parking area, signs, security cameras and landscaping.

“The whole thing fell apart last time because we didn’t have the manpower to take care of that. We need to address that,” Pecha said.

He said a trail head facility will be beneficial to Nicolet Trails Campground, a city-owned campground that has not met usage expectations since opening in 2013.