Ending the 'tyranny' of ATV riders

Posted: Friday, September 07, 2007

Kasen Spickler's notion that "the majority of Juneau residents have gotten so obsessed with preserving nature that we are out of riding areas" is incorrect ("ATV riding will continue despite opposition," in Thursday's Empire). Areas have been closed to all-terrain vehicles due to enforcement issues and better uses for the land.

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Dredge Lake, for example, closed by the U.S. Forest Service to curtail damage and the burden and expense of enforcement, is now a popular and well-used area adjacent to a major tourist attraction. All the Dredge Lake users displaced by ATV activity have returned in droves, and the Mendenhall Glacier area is far more attractive to visitors without relentless and irritating background noise from ATVs.

The Rock Dump has been turned into a dock and an economically productive area instead of a windblown expanse of sand. Boaters and campers who have been driven out of Echo Cove by ATV activity will now have the opportunity to once again enjoy the area free from noise, tire tracks, landscape destruction and unruly drivers. Ditto the area surrounding Sheep Creek, which is once again a nice place to visit for exactly the same reasons. And the proposed Fish Creek Quarry site is being opposed not to "preserve nature," but to preserve the peace and quiet and safety of a residential neighborhood.

In short, Juneau residents who object to ATV activity have good, solid reasons for doing so, not some vague impulse to "preserve nature." It's a matter of ending tyranny over our lands by a small minority of motorized "recreationists," when we have far better uses for these areas.

Chris Prussing


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