Increased ATV use on trails is not a good idea

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The article in Sunday's Juneau Empire expresses hope by ATV riders that more trails would be opened for ATV use in the Juneau borough. I hope this doesn't mean opening more existing trails. This would be incompatible with current and long-established trail use. Every square foot of the Juneau trail system is used by hikers, bikers, mountain climbers, runners, bird watchers, cross-country skiers and people who just want to have a nice quiet outdoor experience. The use of ATVs is incompatible with every one of these uses.

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Furthermore, ATVs can really chew up the environment. A few years ago, I watched a four-wheeler traversing about a mile of pristine muskeg meadow to access a moose kill. The thoughtless operator of that four-wheeler gouged a trail in the meadow that will take decades to recover.

The Juneau borough does not have the wide open spaces that are found in Nevada, Arizona, Interior Alaska, etc., where competing users can spread out. Instead, the Juneau borough is squeezed between the ocean and the nearby coastal range. The Juneau trail system threads through the valleys and alpine ridges in this area. I hike these trails a lot and would not be thrilled to encounter ATVs. The geography and current trail use in the Juneau borough simply preclude an increase in ATV use on the Juneau borough trail system.

Ron Berg


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