The fastest-growing form of fun in Iowa may be the four-wheeler, gas-powered all-terrain vehicles. And also growing is the demand for off-road “parks” to ride those ATV’s in. The city of Pleasant Hill is studying a plan for an A-T-V park. DNR Program Planner Tony Toiga says there’s plenty of interest as 20-thousand ATV’s are registered in Iowa, and the industry reports sales are up 176 percent in the past five years. Neighbors at a hearing in Pleasant Hill last Tuesday night said they’re less concerned than they were about fears of noise, dust and traffic after hearing state plans to fence and regulate the land. The 160-acre parcel in question has been a busy place, and sometimes a noisy one, says Toiga.Once a gravel-mining pit, it was known as Pickle Farm Beach and the owner operated a private ATV park but is now forbidden to charge money for that under city zoning. Toiga says other ATV parks are thriving around the state There’s one in Waterloo and one in Mahaska County, an hour and a half away, that’s nonetheless popular with Des Moines ATV riders. There’s also an ATV park in Appanoose County, and a fourth will open in September near Council Bluffs. The DNR has 220-thousand dollars to buy the land for that park, and operations would be funded by ATV registration dollars, so state budget cuts won’t affect that. Pleasant Hill’s plan and zoning commission will study the proposal to create what could be the next off-road ATV park in Iowa.
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