Path to police state

Posted: Monday, October 08, 2001

Closure of the airport dike trail is now being considered, purportedly due to recent terrorist attacks. As a regular user of the trail and a pilot with a plane on the field, I believe this is a nothing more than an attempt by a bureaucratic agency with its own agenda to take the decision-making process out of the public realm and into its own hands under the guise of "public safety."

The airport trail is one of the most used and most accessible trails in the area, (especially for elderly and disabled persons, families with strollers and those with limited time to get outside). It was bad enough to hear recently that trees along the trail were possibly going to be cut down, (like the clear-cutting that happened overnight behind some of the hangars).

Even if all the trees in the airport vicinity were felled it would not eliminate the risk of bird strikes, although it would destroy the beauty of the area and habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Migrating waterfowl would still pass through the area. Will filling in the wetlands be the next step proposed? Closure of the trail to the public for the reasons we have heard is equally senseless. Will the wetlands also be off-limits?

Personally I have no concerns about terrorist attacks here in Juneau, and I doubt that any of the measures now being undertaken across the country will do much to thwart determined terrorists. I do have concerns about the freedom and civil liberties of law-abiding American citizens being taken away. Eliminating public access to this beautiful part of Juneau would be the real crime and would move us along the path to becoming a "police state."

Chris Kelly


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