Study: ATV riders pump $296 mil a year into Wis. economy
All-terrain vehicle riders pump about $296 million annually into Wisconsin's economy, according to a study released by the state Department of Tourism.
The study also said ATV riders spend about $525 on each out-of-town trip in Wisconsin.
Those closest to ATV trails seem to prosper the most, such as the Wildcat Supper Club seven miles west of Neillsville. Wildcat is a quarter-mile from a Clark County trail.
Co-owner Florence Lindow said it's typical to see 200 riders in her supper club's parking lot on summer Saturday afternoons.
"This ATVing is going to get big," Lindow said. "It's going to be like snowmobiling 30 years ago."
The sport is growing, with more than 200,000 registered ATVs in Wisconsin. In 1997, there were 79,000.
About 1,100 ATV riders were surveyed between June and October 2003 for the study, which was released last month in conjunction with the Wisconsin ATV Association and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension's Department of Urban & Regional Planning.
Of those surveyed, each took an average of six trips a year that lasted about three nights each. Eighty-six percent of riders were from Wisconsin, with the rest from surrounding states.
Out-of-state ATV riders pour about $35 million into Wisconsin's economy annually, according to the study. That is expected to increase as the state develops more interconnected ATV trails that lead riders into business districts.
There are about 4,000 miles of state-funded winter ATV trails in Wisconsin and 1,500 miles of summer ATV trails, which open Saturday.
ATV riders soon will pay $30 to register their ATVs for two years, up from $12, doubling the state's available funds to develop and maintain trails.