Back in 2016, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed Wisconsin Act 170 into law, creating Wisconsin’s new off-highway motorcycle program.  However, the Act did not establish the administrative rules necessary to implement the newly minted law.

But late last year, the rules were put in place.  And now, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is ready to throw its doors open to its residents and non-residents.  As of April 1, 2021, the WDNR is doing its part to offer motorized outdoor recreation, including “off-highway motorcycles.”

Off-highway motorcycle registration

Until recently, non-residents needed to register their off-highway motorcycles in Wisconsin to operate on trails or other publicly established corridors.  Now, non-residents who want to ride their off-highway motorcycles in the state have two alternatives.

Riders can display a Wisconsin public use registration (with a $30 first-time registration fee / $30 2-year renewal).  Or, they can purchase a non-resident trail pass for $35 to operate on OHM trails or established corridors open to the public.

Pass availability

Passes are available online through WDNR’s Go Wild online license and registration portal.  It provides information on the new trail pass as well as an operating in Wisconsin tutorial.   There is also a webpage dedicated to Wisconsin’s off-highway motorcycle laws.

Wisconsin now boasts a trail system of about 750 miles.  With the implementation of Act 170, many of those trails are now open to off-highway motorcycles.  There is a dedicated webpage that shows which trails are open or closed to off-highway bikes.  A quick survey of all the trails finds 26 trails available, with 18 of them being open to off-highway motorcycles.

Although Wisconsin’s new program got off to a slow start, it’s now off and running.  For more information about the program, check out the WDNR website.

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