Reader Opinion: ATVs don't belong in Mississippi Northwoods
I was director of the Minnesota Environmental Education Board and later chosen by the governor to help reconstitute the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources. During that time I watched many Minnesotans concerned about the loss of wildlif...
I was director of the Minnesota Environmental Education Board and later chosen by the governor to help reconstitute the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources. During that time I watched many Minnesotans concerned about the loss of wildlife habitat fight hard for long-term protection for our resources.
I was overjoyed when Minnesotans passed the constitutional amendment setting aside monies dedicated to the preservation of habitat for fish and wildlife. I and all the others who voted for that constitutional amendment expected that those funds would be used for, and only for, the purpose of that amendment.
Knowing the devastating impact on wildlife from ATV trails, I am appalled that the county would consider allowing ATV trails on land purchased with those funds.
The existence of old trails is irrelevant. Because they are there doesn't mean they have to be used. The trails will revert to forest if left alone.
I disagree that the lands should be open for all people to use. Human activity is responsible for wildlife's current predicament. People don't have to be everywhere. Honoring that understanding will make it possible to have wildlife in the future.
No, we are not hoping it brings in more people. We are hoping there is one area where there are few people and more wildlife. Pressure is strong to use land for economic purposes. The amendment was needed to counter that pressure in order to preserve habitat.
I don't care who understood what at the time the land was turned over to the county for management. Finger pointing is useless. The spirit and letter of the constitutional amendment are clear; they preclude motorized trails. The county should either follow the amendment's intent, or give back the money.