Responsible Stewardship

Tracks in the fresh snowfall on Hahns Road

I’ve been lax in posting here for the past few weeks. Who knew that running for Town Supervisor could be so time consuming yet at the same time joyful. I have met so many new residents and property owners of Town of Spider Lake in the past couple of months. It has been a joy to find that they see the value of good stewardship of our lands and waters.

When listening to their concerns about what is currently going on concerning the changing or trying to sunset the very ordinances that make this town so special I was impressed by the passion so many showed. They love this town and don’t want changes that will take away from what they sought and found here.

Being good stewards of this town is imperative. If we fail at this what we lose can never be regained. We are unique in our governance of this town. We cannot allow special interests to take that away from us.

Change is inevitable but any change should be well researched, have ample public input and always use our Comprehensive Plan as the starting point. We need supervisors who set aside their personal wants and pledge that they will always put the town first.

I will say this over and over, this town is not broken. What is broken is the process of making decisions. No one is doing their homework. As an example is the overturning of the ATV/UTV ordinance.

I own a UTV, a Polaris Ranger so I’m not anti-ATV/UTV but I felt strongly that there was no homework done prior to changing the ordinance other than the survey that was done. The survey showed that 65% of the property owners did not want the ordinance changed. Many of the residents, both pro and con, listed safety issues they were concerned about. Yet none of those were addressed prior to passing the new ordinance.

No study was done to examine the potential safety concerns, potential road repair costs, roads that were unsuitable for use by ATV/UTVs or any other aspect of what this change would bring about. There was a compromise that could have been done but as one person said, “Our town Chairman promised he would open all the roads up to ATV/UTVs during his campaign and he made good on that promise.”

As a candidate for supervisor the only promise I will make is this. I promise to do the work needed to make responsible decisions that are good for our town. I will always put the town above my personal wants or opinions.

Our town deserves good stewardship. What we have here and now is a unique and beautiful place to live, work and play in. For our children, grandchildren and all who will come in the future we must pass on to them a town that has done everything it can to protect and preserve what is a very special town.

9 Comments on “Responsible Stewardship

  1. Hi Deb,

    I did not realize you had this site to communicate, nice job! I respectively disagree that the town board ignore the survey as the survey was not the only input to the decision. I am very disappointed in the fact the town board did not communicate the process for how they were going to collect input to consider a change to the ATV/UTV ordinance. I am also disappointed that after the town board approved the distribution of the survey, the ATV/UTV committee decided to add trusts to the list receiving a survey without going back to the town board for approval.

    Here is what happen to me, the committee decided my household should receive one survey although there are two of us that live here permanently with WI Driver licenses. Then my neighbor who is also permanent received three surveys, one for each individual and one for their trust. Why do they get three inputs when there are only two people? My second neighbor, who is seasonal received two surveys, one for the family and one for their trust? The point of a survey or any means of collecting data is to have it represent the people and unfortunately when one person fills out more than one survey the process is no longer a democratic process and the data does not represent the people.

    There where many problems with the survey including the questions. The survey results do not represent people, the results represent survey feedback from people completing more than one survey. How can this be objective and fair? On April 7, I was allow one voted NOT two votes, one for me and one for my trust.

    I have great respect for the ATV/UTV committee but without clear communication from the town board on the intent of the survey and how it was to be use with the other methods of input for the board to vote on the change to the ordinance, the survey was interpreted as the only input to the decision. Hence, the problem and the perception that the survey was the only input and the Town ignore the people. This is just not true.

    Why are we not working on more important issues such as better internet and cell services. These two issues are getting in the way of my lively hood and most of the other permanent residents who need effective communication tools and services to work today.

    I hope you can make a difference as you move into your role. Clear communication is in high demand 🙂

    Thank you,


    • Sue,

      Thank you for posting. My goal for this site was to have a place where issues and concerns for our town can be discussed.

      I agree that communication with all property owners is a priority. In the past non-residents had no voice. We need to hear from every stakeholder in our community. I hope we can begin to use our town website as a way to communicate with them and create an atmosphere of trust.

      I look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors to address issues of concern. With the uncertainty of our economy, many of our residents are facing job losses, decreased income and general unease about what the future holds. As a board, we need to be cognizant of those issues.

      That’s why being fiscally responsible with the taxpayer’s money is a priority. Every decision made should take into consideration the cost and financial impact on the resources of the town.

      Like you, I also depend on reliable access to the internet and my cell service. I will certainly look into what role the board can play in those issues. I know it is a problem for many rural residents throughout the state. Personally, we opted for satellite internet through the Jump River Coop. It has been great. We are able to stream movies and tv shows, it is high-speed and we have had very few issues. For our cell service, we put up a booster antenna and have had good results. Yet I know this isn’t true for everyone. Certainly, something to address.

      My goal as a supervisor is to do the work required to give the residents of our town knowledge-based decisions. That we look at each decision and how that decision will affect our budget, our environment, and the health and safety of our town. Even more important is getting the input of the stakeholders.

      We have been fortunate that a group of forward-thinking people spent hours of their time putting together a Comprehensive Plan that has served this town well. What they created has made this town unique. We are the only “Quiet Lakes” area in the state. The biking, skiing, snowmobile, and atv/utv trails provide alternate recreation to the lakes, streams, and rivers.

      While campaigning I met many of our residents and heard their stories and why they purchased their properties here. For some, it was the quiet sports. For others, it was fishing or water sports. For all of them, it was the quality of life. Quiet, privacy, uncluttered shorelines, increasing property values. All things that were of value when the Comprehensive Plan was written.

      What we protect and preserve now is not just for ourselves. It’s for all those who follow. Children, grandchildren, and others that choose this town for what it offers. Being unique has great value. It keeps our properties desirable and the values stable.

      I’m looking forward to being part of a team that has been given the responsibility to govern our town.

      Deb Amery

  2. So I will Challenge you to not delete this. I am a home owner on Teal, a snowmobile rider, an owner of a UTV (which some of you consider an ATV), a boat owner as well. I pay significant amount of registration taxes as well as property taxes, but cant vote because I am not a permanent resident yet. I have attended many meet and greets as well as other township events and never raised my voice. The world is full of opinions and everyone is entitled to theirs. I was appalled at the anger exhibited towards the ATV regulation that was passed at the Boulder Lake Meet and Greet. A certain candidates spouse even had to interrupt another taxpayer to voice his distaste for the issue. I have seen so many mentions of the online research done on ATV safety etc. What I have not seen is mention of the necessity of them anywhere. I have personally been witness to a severely injured fat tire biker being taken to a waiting ambulance by a person driving a UTV. No helicopter could reach him, moving him by hand would have increased the chances he would never walk again. I have seen UTV’s take rescue divers to remote lakes to search for the bodies of missing children, when a quick search is needed to help eliminate the grid search. How about the rescue of a hiker mauled by a mountain lion in the back woods. You simply cant broadly claim they are all all harmful to the township, its their users that would make that issue plausible. I would never drive my UTV through someones property or do anything i would not want done to me or my land. Same with the tent issue. I can tell you if I want to put a tent on my property for my kids to sleep in overnight, I wont think twice about it. But i would not back an RV to the shoreline.
    People need to consider all sides, not just their own personal bias which many times is not fully educated on the entire issue.
    I welcome debate on any of these issues
    James Bennett

    • James,

      First of all, why would I invite people to express their opinions and then not allow them to give it? As I stated on my “About Page”, the only thing that I asked was that anything posted on this site is civil and no profanity. I started this site for this very type of conversation.

      Let me start with this. I also own a UTV. Before we purchased that we had an ATV. So I am familiar with both types of vehicles. We use ours to snowplow and haul yard debris.

      You’ve stated all good uses of ATV/UTVs yet all of them that you list is located in a remote area. Certainly wonderful that they had access to that type of vehicle to reach those areas that helicopters can’t reach. Or where time is of the essence for an injured person.

      You may be speaking about my spouse, not sure. He did interrupt Mike Wheeler and he apologized to Mike afterward. What my husband had a problem with was that Mike said that if a candidate promises someone something during their campaign they should follow through. On the face of that, I would agree. But what if what you promised is not for the good of our community? Or what if it is detrimental to the environment or wildlife? How about if what you promised goes against what the majority of the town’s property owners desire? What if what you promised that person costs the community as a whole an increase in their taxes? Isn’t the job of a supervisor to represent the town as a whole? That we set aside personal agendas and that every decision we make is one that protects the health, welfare, and safety of every property owner? I believe that the only promise you should make is that you will do the work required to make knowledge-based decisions and that every decision you make should protect the health, welfare, and safety of its residents. All of the residents.

      The anger exhibited by so many people is due to the town board’s decision to allow ATV/UTVs on all roads and ignore the results of the survey. Many, like you, are property owners, pay property taxes but don’t have a vote. No one had ever asked their opinion before. Now for the first time they were asked to weigh in on a potential change in an ordinance. Then they were ignored.

      I realize that there is a group who is currently sending out emails and one property owner who had a letter to the editor published recently whose opinion is that the survey was flawed, questions too confusing, went out to too many people. The data they are putting out is incorrect and if either one had taken the time to contact the ATV/UTV committee they would have found that they were happy to walk you through how the survey was composed and how the mailing list was determined. All of which was unanimously agreed upon by the committee. A committee that was made up of two pro-open road advocates and two anti-open road advocates. The fifth member was the arbitrator. As with any survey, there is always a margin of error built-in. This was addressed in the public presentation given at the board meeting.

      For myself personally, I felt that we didn’t have enough research done prior to the change. This has been evidenced by the roads that have now been closed off due to environmental and safety concerns. One of our supervisors has asked that all property owners submit their requests for closure of roads that they deem unsafe, environmentally sensitive or for the protection of wildlife and they will be considered for closure. Why didn’t we do this before changing the ordinance? Here would have been the opportunity to come to a compromise that would have benefitted both the users of ATV/UTVs and those property owners who had concerns about safety, noise, trespassing, environment and wildlife.

      I’ve owned property in this town since 1985 and have found that most people are like you. They are considerate of their neighbors, they value their privacy and the environment we live in and respect it. They came here for a variety of reasons but what I hear from so many is that they specifically chose this town for the “Quiet Lakes” and quiet sports. Fishing, bicycling, cross country skiing and like my family, water sports, water skiing, tubing, and jet skiing. As the only designated “Quiet Lakes” in the state of Wisconsin, our town is unique. It draws both property owners and visitors for this very reason. It is what makes property in this town so desirable.

      The lake ordinances are just one example of a great compromise. While some of the lakes are completely quiet the others have a designated time for motorized water sports. Kayakers, water-boarders, and fisherpeople have the morning and evening hours to enjoy the lakes. Then in the late morning and early afternoon, the water-skiers/tubers and jet skiers have the opportunity to also enjoy the lakes.

      Going forward I would love to see more conversation, not less. More community input, not less. We all benefit from listening to one another. We all benefit if we ask questions.

      So, thank you for taking the time to post your opinion. It is what I was hoping for.

  3. Well said, deb I hope people will take your thoughts to heart ! Protect and preserve what we have………….

    • Talking to so many of our neighbors throughout the town I have found that so many agree, preserve and protect. They see the value in the Comprehensive Plan and the good stewardship it has provided our lakes and forests.
      Thank you Carol for all the work you put into that plan!!

Leave a Reply