I enjoyed all-terrain vehicle riding as a youth until I sustained a knee injury that required a year of medical attention. I understand the fun of these types of machines, and the adrenaline rush associated with pushing a machine to its limits is exciting. To do so fully, one must go out of bounds - the habitat and consideration for others be damned.
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Therein lie the problem and the reasons many find ATVs offensive. ATVs are most fun when ridden irresponsibly. It is the unrestrained freedom that is most exciting. That many riders refuse to remain in boundaries is a major reason that ATV riders were forced to abandon the Dredge Lake region. Goldbelt recently placed a sign at Echo Cove indicating a boundary line. The very next day, there were 38 bullet holes in it and tracks going beyond it.
Yet James Tipps, president of Rough Riders AK, and other riders would have people believe they will ride responsibly if given an area to ride in on North Douglas. Tipps stated in the June 22 Juneau Empire that "a sense of ownership" will translate into greater responsibility. It has been my experience, however, that a sense of ownership generally instills a sense of entitlement to do as one pleases. Thus, I would anticipate increased irresponsibility.
Regardless of whether the riders would behave responsibly or not, I find this proposal completely unacceptable. A quick measurement using Google Earth indicates that the distance between the proposed park and neighboring properties is approximately 326 feet. That the city would even consider allowing upwards of 100 noisy ATVs be ridden from 8 a.m. to midnight daily that close to residential homes boggles my mind.
There are many disadvantages to living in North Douglas, but the advantage is solitude. The increased traffic and noise associated with an ATV park would destroy the primary reason I've invested money into my home. The city claims my property's value won't decline. No real person I've talked to agrees with this assertion. I certainly don't.
I empathize with those who search for a place to ride responsibly, but given the history of riders in general, and the fact ATVs are so noisy, I can't support this North Douglas proposal.
Find someplace else, or take up an activity that others in general don't find so offensive.
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