All can enjoy public land with a little give, take

Posted: Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Once again we see the narrow-mindedness of some people that think their choice of recreation is better or more important than mine. I am writing in response of Bob Hunsick's Aug. 1 letter about banning all-terrain vehicle access to the fish creek rock quarry and former clear-cut. This 15- to 20-acre site is not one of the most pristine forested areas in Juneau. It is an area that has not only been touched by commercial activity but has been looked at in the past for ATV access and is now in the beginning stages of coming to reality.

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Hunsick's letter was full of negative stereotypes and implications that ATV riders are a lesser class of people than non-ATV riders. I suggest he do some research and take a look into the people who ride. The growing Juneau ATV community is a diverse group that includes young and old, blue collar through local business owners, some of which pay more than $5,000 per year in property taxes.

The first meeting that was held this past winter for the Rough Riders AK had to be moved from the Egan Room in Centennial Hall to one of the ball rooms because more than 300 people showed up in support of ATV access. To imply that ATV riders are drunks and thieves along with asking the city to make us justify our choice of recreation is absurd. Narrow-mindedness such as this is just one of many things that make Juneau unattractive to live in. What gives any of use the right to say that our choice of recreation is better and that other choices of recreation should not be allowed?

Public land is for everyone to use and enjoy. It is not a private playground for those who think they are better than everyone else. Not every recreational activity works with other activities, and that is the reason why we need designated areas for things such as ATVs, paint ball and disc golf, just to mention a few. User conflicts are only conflicts if we let them be. With a little give and take, along with some communication, we can all enjoy the public land that we all have.

Jesse Hay


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