Recreational Safety Patrol
The goal of a safer recreational environment is achieved through two types of activities, education and enforcement. Currently the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department employs one full-time Deputy who is assisted by other full-time Deputies and part-time deputies to accomplish this task. If you need information in addition to what you find on this web sight feel free to call Recreation Safety Officer Brad Verges at 715-273-6816.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department believes that proper education is a very important factor in reducing the number of recreational accidents. With proper education, future recreational users will operate in a safer manner and less enforcement will be needed.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department has historically been a leader in proactive recreation enforcement, believing that along with education, proactive enforcement is a vital key to reducing accidents and encouraging a safer recreational environment. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department has active Safety Patrols including a Boat Patrol, Snowmobile Patrol, and All Terrain Vehicle Patrol. The Sheriff’s Department also assists in the enforcement of safety related regulations during hunting seasons.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department maintains a very active boat patrol. The Department patrols over 23,000 acres of surface water including The Mississippi River/Lake Pepin from below Maiden Rock WI to Prescott WI., the Saint Croix River from Prescott WI to near Afton MN., Several smaller rivers and streams, The Eau Galle Reservoir, and Nugget Lake. Our Patrol uses two boats, a 22 foot center console style boat and an 18 foot dual console boat. Over the past few years the boat patrol has also been using two personal watercraft/wave runners that were acquired free of charge though Yamaha’s law loan program , a program that encourages responsible operation of personal water craft and enforcement by local officials using personal watercraft.
Because portions of the Mississippi River in our area rarely freeze our boat patrol is active practically year round. Of course more time is spent on boat patrol during the warm weather months when boating is at it’s peak, and peak it does! The confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi River at Prescott WI is considered the busiest and most congested waterway in the Midwest and is second to only a few waterways in the United States!
The main concern of our boat patrol is safety violations and officers work diligently at enforcing safety laws including Personal Floatation Device (life jacket) laws, speed restrictions, boating while intoxicated laws, and several safety regulations. For additional information on boating laws in the state of Wisconsin visit Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources. The Patrol also investigates and writes reports on boat accidents, assists with boating or water related emergencies, and performs body recovery operations for drowning victims.
Pierce County receives financial aid from the State of Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources to help offset the cost of the Safety Patrol, the money used is a portion of the boat registration fee that each boat owner pays to the State of Wisconsin. Additional funding is supplied to the State from the Federal Government and is derived from fuel and commerce taxes on commercial boats and barges.
Pierce County is home to over 240 miles of public snowmobile trails. The Sheriff’s Department actively patrols all snowmobile trails and its main goal is to improve snowmobile safety both on and off the public trails. Currently the Department uses two snowmobiles along with a four-wheel drive truck to help track down safety violations. Common violations that the patrol watches for include illegal operation on public highways, speed violations, operating a snowmobile while intoxicated and operation of a snowmobile without a safety class certificate. The Safety Patrol also investigates and writes reports on snowmobile accidents and performs rescue operations for snowmobiles that fall through thin ice.
Funding for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Snowmobile Patrol is provided mainly by the State of Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources and is derived from a portion of the snowmobile registration fee that each snowmobile owner pays. Additional funding is provided through the non-resident trail passes and through fuel tax from the gasoline that snowmobiles use.
The public snowmobile trails in Pierce County do not open or close on a set schedule they are open or closed based on the current snow conditions. The Pierce County Snowmobile Council, which is a council made up of representatives from each of the counties local snowmobile clubs makes the decision to open or close the trails. For official notification of if the trails are open or closed and for current trail conditions call the Pierce County Trail Hotline at 715-639-6311. The public snowmobile trails are open to any snowmobile registered in Wisconsin or any snowmobile displaying a Non-Resident trail use decal. Our trails run primarily on private land so please respect the landowner by staying on the marked trail and ridding only when the trails are open. For more information on snowmobile regulations including ordering non-resident snowmobile trail passes in the state of Wisconsin visit Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources.
All Terrain Vehicle Patrol
All Terrain Vehicle Patrol
Pierce County does not have any public all terrain vehicle trails, however, the ever increasing number of ATV’s purchased by landowners, farmers, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts has prompted the Sheriff’s Department to get involved with ATV education and ATV law enforcement. Although not actively patrolling trails the Department does own an all terrain vehicle that is used to patrol areas with ATV complaints and is used to respond to emergencies in remote locations where access by a conventional motor vehicle is limited. The ATV is also used during all terrain vehicle safety courses, and for patrolling special events such as the county fair etc. For more information on all terrain vehicle laws and locations of public trails in the State of Wisconsin visit Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources.