The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Helps Local Group Plan for "Happy Trails" for UTVs

Finding a safe and legal way for owners to ride UTVs caused Byron Sebastian of Gladstone to call a meeting of major players to help legalize the sport in Henderson County.

He invited two men from Dixon, Illinois, Mark Imfeld and Steve Dilger after he had learned that Imfeld had already done much of the leg work after accomplishing the same goals in Lee County where he lives.

With the help of Road Commisioners, the Sheriff's Office, Attorneys and Judges, the group have not only been able to pass an ordiance for the recreational sport, but have also been able to bring in lots of dollars to the area and have been able to assist in policing UTV operators and assisting the Sheriff with any problems he might need assistance on.

(See "Happy Trails" page 12)

Sebastian invited those interested in driving UTVs and also the Sheriff, States Attorney, County Board Chair, and all 11 Road Commissioners.

Henderson County Sheriff Steve Haynes attended the meeting and four Road Commissioners along with around 30 interested residents.

Imfield said you need to give a lot of respect to the Sheriff's office for what they do and help them in any way you can. And you need to have the support of all your Township Officials who are in control of the backroads so you can go to the county board with all their support.

It is a huge money maker for the county, Imfield said as riders come into your county to buy gas, stay overnight, shop and eat. They also are willing to pay for permits which brings in alot of revenue-$7.8 million to the area in Jackson County.

Imfeld's group started a club and they have forty who went on a ride this weekend. He said they traveled approved trails for 100 to 250 mile rides from Dixon to Danville with no tickets, and they police their own members if need be.

Imfeld read a list of his suggestions for fines and fees when writing Ordinances making violations several hundred dollars to deter problems and to bring in revenue for the area.

The Township controls the roads and the Road Commissioners the back roads, the county the county roads and the villages are self-governed.

The group will not travel highways like US 34 or state highways, but the county will make a path that is less traveled so roaders can get from point A to point B. Riders have to observe all the rules of the road and have liability insurance and their vehicles must have all the safety requirements including roll bars, and seat belts, turn signals, head lights, etc.

Sebastian is hoping to have the provisions passed by next month and a trail laid out.

Imfield said, owners are riding them now, so they might as well be bringing in some control and money for the county.

Mark Imfeld (left) (left) and Steve Dilger (right) came from Dixon, Illinois to support, educate, and encourage UTV owners in passing Ordinances and making plans for trails to legally move their UTV vehicles on. The meeting was called by Byron Sebastian (seated in his Yamaha) in Gladstone where over thirty residents and officials attended.