To the Editor:
Some local businesses have taken a hit these last years due to lack of snow, the economy and gas prices. They seem to believe that the silver bullet to correct this is to open ATV trails in the area.
These repeated attempts to open and establish trails in the area have been voted down several times in the past, which is only wise for our communities as a whole.
Who is going to be responsible to regulate and enforce any rules for ATV use? ATVs, by their nature, bring with them noise pollution, soil erosion, soil pollution, transfer of invasive plant species, water pollution and the list goes on and on to even legal aspects – trespassing, destruction of property, poaching, wildlife harassment, and dumping of trash.
Are we to expect our DNR, our over-worked wardens, to be responsible for this? What strain is this going to put on our first responders dealing with the imminent accidents in far-flung locations? Still, despite all this, there is a clamor for ATV trails due to the economic impact it would have on the area.
To be fair, let’s look at that a moment. Many communities in the area have worked hard and invested quite a bit into the “quiet, low-impact sports.” We have a system of incredible bike paths and trails, a wealth of hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, and canoe/kayak paths established. The restaurants, hotels, campgrounds and a plethora of other businesses cater to these quiet sports enthusiasts. Because of this, how many businesses in the area have sprung up offering kayaks, maps, bikes, outdoor gear, and camping gear? Are we really willing to throw those thriving, and in some cases expanding, businesses under the bus by allowing the use of ATVs in our forests?
Go to any number of our local campgrounds in the summer months. They are all packed with happy families toting kayaks, bikes and hiking shoes. They are all enjoying the quiet peace “wilderness” feel of our Northwoods.
Imagine being camped on a lakeshore. The summer sun is setting, the water like glass, a loon is calling in the distance. There is a sense of overall peace and tranquility.
Now imagine that same scene where you can’t relax and hear the quiet, or even the loon calls, over the drone of revving engines of ATV enthusiasts camped within the same campground, or from the nearby ATV trails.
How long before those families go elsewhere? How long before we see businesses closed? How long before any semblance of the Northwoods is destroyed?
ATV trails may look good on the surface. However, the cons far outweight the pros. For those few extra dollars in the “off” months, our communities would suffer economically, socially, legally and the environmental costs would be irreversible.
“No” to ATV trails in our Northwoods.