Protection of Rustic Roads under Wisconsin Law

  • Although Vilas County Highway Department is responsible for maintaining Rustic Road 60, WISCONSIN LAW REQUIRES it to "preserv[e] the rustic qualities of the road "[1] .

  • "[R]oad improvements shall be kept as narrow as possible to retain the rustic charm of the road as well as keeping the driver’s speed lower."[2]

  • It also provides that the "improvements shall be kept to a minimum to avoid disturbance of vegetation . . ." [2]

  • Wisconsin law takes a protective approach to preserving Rustic Roads because of their unique and irreplaceable status.

[1] Section 1.08 of the Wisconsin Transportation – Rustic Roads Code (the “Rustic Roads Code”).

[2] Section 1.09 of the Rustic Roads Code.

How does removing thousands of trees, eliminating tree tunnels and expanding the roadway "retain the rustic charm" and "minimally disturbs vegetation" on a Rustic Road?


  • Rustic Road 60 or Highway K is the only Rustic Road in Vilas County. is a 12-mile stretch of Highway K in the Boulder Junction and Star Lake areas, that captures the spirit of the Northwoods. This winding stretch of road is nestled in the Northern Highlands State Forest and features tree tunnels and spectacular views of area lakes.

  • The beauty and spirit of Highway K has been featured in numerous television shows, books, magazines, newspaper articles and Vilas County’s own tourism promotional materials. It is truly a special stretch of road.

  • The State of Wisconsin has designated this 12-mile special section of Highway K as a Rustic Road. It is the only Rustic Road in Vilas County and one of only 120 roads receiving this designation in the entire State.

  • Rustic Road status is reserved for truly special roads that have outstanding natural features, such as rugged natural terrain, native wildlife and native vegetation. County K has all these qualities!