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The following is a portion of my comments submitted to Parks and Recreation in response to the Commercial Use of Trails Survey.
First of all, thank you for doing a survey and distributing it so widely.
Secondly, I am writing a letter because it is difficult to respond in the form provided by the survey. I have objections to any commercial use of public trails in and around Juneau.
Juneau has a rich treasure in its trails. These trails have taken decades to develop and were built mostly by volunteers with no motivation other than the love of hiking in our wilderness. No one would object to sharing these trails with anyone who would use them in the manner for which they were intended. Unfortunately, what has begun to happen in the last decade is that this rich public resource has been recognized by those who want to convert its value to private wealth. When guided groups of six or more use trails, the traditional use is changed and disrupted and they are no longer attractive places for residents whose aim is a wilderness experience. If private enterprises believe they can make a profit on guided hikes, they should develop their own trails on private property; otherwise they are making their profits at the expense of generations of volunteers and public resources. In other words, they are the recipients of corporate welfare.