Reasons to oppose road

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, December 04, 2003

I am strongly against the proposed road from Juneau to Skagway, but I am in favor of increased access to Juneau. The all-marine option listed in the Department of Transportation Project Overview (April 2003) is the only option that makes any sense to me. Some of the reasons I oppose this road appear below.

I love this town and its environs. Juneau is a unique island in a sea of wilderness. That wilderness is the main reason I moved here 41 years ago. That wilderness is the main reason I and many others remain here. Most of us, tourists included, use the surrounding wilderness for one or more of the following: hunting, fishing, boating, hiking, skiing or just plain viewing. The town itself offers an extensive array of cultural and sports opportunities ranging from the Juneau Symphony to the Eaglecrest Ski Area. It is noteworthy that all these creations occurred in the absence of a road to the outside. If a road is constructed the character of Juneau will change, our quality of life will be diminished and the countless miseries of urban life experienced elsewhere will flood in upon us.

Another love of mine is our ferry system. The trip up the Inside Passage on a ferry is wonderful, and the most scenic part is in northern Lynn Canal where precipitous mountains are decorated with hanging glaciers and waterfalls. It is along the base of this range that the proposed road would go. If the road were constructed, what one would see from a ship is an ugly scar inhabited by belching Winnebagos.

Additionally, I love having the capital in Juneau. Most of the people in Haines and Skagway are against the road. If Juneau pushes for the road, our neighbors to the north may desert us when the next capital move proposal surfaces and we could lose the capital. Many of the people who want to move the capital couldn't care less whether or not we have a road. What they want is the capital in their area.

Finally, I close with a statement by Henry David Thoreau which is applicable to the suggestion that a road be constructed from Juneau to Skagway: "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone."

Richard Gard


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