Rich Poor (My Turn, May 12) says he's never been to Berners Bay, and appears to have little knowledge of outdoor recreation opportunities in Juneau. His point is that in order to recreate in a place, there must be a road on it. Putting aside the substantial environmental concerns for the Berners Bay, let's talk about access and recreation.
Mr. Poor said that since 1970, "very little new land has been made accessible for recreation." What kind of "recreation" exactly? Eaglecrest Ski Area opened in 1976, accessing 640 acres to Juneau residents for skiing, hiking and berry picking. Point Bridget State Park, bordering part of Berners Bay, was created in 1988, accessing another 2,850 acres, both Kowee Meadow and Blue Mussel cabins, and a trail system for hiking, fishing, camping and other recreation.
Not every place needs to be "drive up" to provide recreation or access. Some kinds of recreation require a little distance. Point Bridget State Park is unique, providing easy access for anyone with an average fitness level to Berners Bay and the only beachside public cabins in Juneau.
Many enjoy recreating here, walking through meadows of wildflowers onto a beautiful beach with no pavement in sight, pitching tents and watching the sunset free from parking lot lights or car sounds, awakening to the soft sound of whales blowing in the bay.
There are few places around Juneau both so close and so shielded. Mr. Poor says the flat 2.5-mile walk to Kowee Meadow restricts this access to "all but the most hearty outdoor individuals." That's silly. My niece and nephew are only 4 and 5, and they can both easily make this walk.
People's recreational needs require varied levels of access. I don't own a boat, but I certainly support the six boat ramps in Juneau as so many enjoy boating. I'm glad there are so many recreation opportunities for the less able in Juneau. And, I hope that those who have not hiked Juneau trails or visited Kowee Meadow would also recognize the importance of preserving some accessible, undeveloped recreation for the many who enjoy it.
These kinds of places are not infinite. We are fortunate to have unique geography that allows for so many kinds of recreation. Mr. Poor, you should experience Berners Bay. It's well worth the short walk. Call me, and I'll walk with you.
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