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Trails advocate, Joe Timmerman, killed in mountain bike accident

A 67-year-old Hayward man and outdoor trails enthusiast, Joseph A. Timmerman, was killed when his bicycle crashed on a singletrack mountain bike trail in the Town of Spider Lake Thursday, Sept. 17.

At 1:40 p.m. Sept. 17, the Sawyer County sheriff's dispatch center was informed by the Bayfield County Sheriff's Office of a bicycle crash with injury on a trail one-quarter mile south of Camp 38 Road in the Town of Spider Lake. The section is known as the "Flow Mama Trail," one-half mile south of the Bayfield County line.

The Sawyer County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene, assisted by Bayfield County Sheriff's Office, the Spider Lake and Round Lake fire departments, Sawyer County EMS and the Great Divide Ambulance Service.

Upon arrival, fire and EMS personnel found Timmerman deceased at the scene of the crash. Witness statements indicate that Timmerman had lost control of his bicycle while going over a jump in a rocky portion of the trail. As he landed, he went over the handle bars and landed head first, causing fatal injuries.

Timmerman, a native of Watertown, Wisconsin, was known for his involvement in several community causes after he moved to Hayward in 2000. After graduating from UW-Stevens Point in 1975, he spent his career in forestry with Consolidated Papers, managing thousands of acres of forest land. He retired to Hayward in 2000 where he worked with Midwest Forest Products.

Timmerman served several terms on the board of directors of the American Birkebeiner Foundation and acted as treasurer. After having skied 20 Birkies he wanted to give back by acting as race chief, along with his wife, for the Barnebirkie. He also served as a ski trail groomer at the Hayward Area Memorial Hospital ski trails, where he was known as "Groomer Joe."

Timmerman also served as president of the Hayward Library Foundation and was an avid reader.

Timmerman was an enthusiastic biker and supporter of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA). He volunteered many hours on the trails and loved to ride them.

According to his obituary, "Joe had a profound love of the outdoors, seeing beauty sometimes where no one else could. There was never a day wasted.

"During his retirement he was able to renew his passion for astronomy, building an observatory at his home. He was a member of the Minnesota Astronomical Society and received many awards. He would drive to the Twin Cities to join his partners for meetings and 'Star Parties.' He loved to share his passion with anyone from 9 to 99."

The Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) stated on its Facebook page, "There is great sadness in the CAMBA community over the tragic passing of

Joe Timmerman. Joe's enthusiasm and support for the trails and cycling in general was palpable and his ear to ear smile infectious.

"CAMBA extends its deepest, heart-felt condolences to his wife, Bean, and their families and friends. This is indeed a difficult time for them and we share their grief," CAMBA stated.

The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) stated on its Facebook page, "It is a very sad day indeed. Joe Timmerman was a great friend of the Birkie. He volunteered as a Birkie race chief, served on the ABSF Board of Directors, loved to spend time in the great outdoors riding his bike, skiing, looking at the stars, and enjoying the great Northwoods.

"Joe had the most magnificent smile . . . he will be deeply missed. The entire Birkie staff and board of directors extends our deepest and heartfelt condolences to his dear wife, Bean, their family, and friends, on Joe's unexpected passing."

Timmerman is survived by his wife, Eileen "Bean" Timmerman, two daughters and three grandchildren.


Town of Spider Lake revises ATV ordinance

At its Sept. 9 meeting, the Town of Spider Lake Board voted 4-1 to amend its nine-month-old ordinance that had opened up all town-maintained roads to all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and utility terrain vehicle (UTV) travel.

The new ordinance establishes two north-south corridors, one on the east end of the town and the other on the west end, to give four-wheelers access to existing Sawyer County ATV routes. But other town-maintained roads are closed to ATV use.

The new east corridor runs along Federal Forest Road 203. Town Chairman Tim Sheldon said the goal of the Ad Hoc ATV Survey Committee and town board was to "search for a compromise" between the advocates of opening up all roads to ATVs and those opposed to that.

"Everybody is not going to be happy about everything," he said. "They're not going to get everything they want and not going to lose everything, either."

Sheldon added that the Ad Hoc ATV Survey Committee provided numerous opportunities for people's input on this issue. "We wanted to take a look at the health, safety and environmental implications, the economic impact and our comprehensive plan."

In the end, the town board decided on Sept. 9 to create a new north-south corridor on the east side of the town that connects The Lakewoods trail system with the Moose Lake network, but removes ATV and UTV access to other town roads (see map on 13A).

The amended ATV ordinance approved by the current town board repeals the ordinance passed last December by the previous town board. That ordinance

opened up all town-maintained roadways to ATV and UTV access.

Sheldon said the board received five "pro-ATV" letters and two that were "anti-ATV."

One writer asked the board to open up Short and Mathy roads southwest of Clam Lake to four-wheelers.

Another writer said ATVs are "good for tourism and local businesses" and that the ATVs "have no more impact or damage on the woods than logging operations. The town's job is to support local businesses and ATVs promote that." The writer also asked the board to "consider not only the needs of town residents, but consider all the taxpayers' inputs." One letter writer reported a near-miss crash with an ATV while coming over a hill on Tews Road near Green Point Road. The motorist had to swerve out of the way of an ATV in the middle of the road and said there also was an oncoming ATV. The motorist said those curvy roads are unsafe for ATVs.

Another writer said, "not having ATVs (on town roads) aligns with the comprehensive plan, which promotes quiet sports and prevents noise, air and light pollution." The writer said they were concerned about the safety of pedestrians and children on the roads.

A speaker identifying himself as "Steve" said he polled residents on Morgan's Cove Road and nine out of 12 said they support shutting down roads to ATVs, two said they are neutral and one said he opposes it.

"This not a business that will go away in Wisconsin," he said.

In March, the state increased funding to enhance trails and training. There are 376,000 registered ATVs in Wisconsin and more than 20,000 out-of-state trail passes. They generate $3 billion in revenue. If businesses near ATV routes have to shut down, "You're going to see that (tax) revenue go elsewhere," he said.

Concerning environmental damage, "It's the same as snowmobiles: stay on the trails or go home," he added.

During COVID-19, "people need to get outside and enjoy the outdoors," he added.

Town board member Sue Dale said she knows of businesses "who don't support ATVs."

Voting in favor of the amended ATV route ordinance were board members Stephanie Martin, Deborah Amery, Sue Dale and Tim Sheldon. Supervisor Mike Lemminger was opposed.

Sheldon said signs will be put up reflecting the new ordinance.

RV park rezone is tabled 'til January

A request to rezone the former Hayward National Golf Club in the towns of Hayward and Bass Lake for a proposed 197-site RV park has been tabled by the Sawyer County Zoning Committee until January 2021.

The decision came at the zoning committee's Sept. 18 meeting, where Supervisor Bruce Paulsen questioned why the committee was proceeding with a public hearing for the rezone because he had been notified the project was not proceeding.

Zoning Administrator Jay Kozlowski said there are nearly 1,000 pages of letters to read into the public record.

Opposition to an RV park at the site has been extensive during public hearings at town hall meetings, but the Hayward and Bass Lake town boards both eventually recommended the rezone from agriculture 1 (AG-1) to residential recreational two (RR2), under which an RV park is permitted as a conditional use.

Steve Skoug of Chetek, the proposed RV park developer, had previously presented to the towns.

"But if the deal is going to fall apart, why do we need to have all these people speak and talk if this deal is going to fall apart?" Paulsen asked.

Corporate Counsel Rebecca Roeker said the applicant, the property owner James Massey, had not withdrawn the application.

"So even if it is highly unlikely the development will move forward, the request for review has not been withdrawn," Roeker said.

"I think this is a waste of time," Paulsen responded.

"I agree with Mr. Paulsen on that," said Ron Buckholtz, chair of the committee.

Paulsen proposed tabling the issue until January to allow the "participants" to work out the details.

Speaking over an online Zoom channel, Massey said it would be fine with him if the rezone was tabled until January 2021.

The committee unanimously voted to table the proposal.

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