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The OHV community argues that their recreational desire is as valid as any other in the forest: hiker, birdwatcher, wildlife enthusiast, for example. However, these quiet recreational pursuits are impossible to enjoy when OHVs are nearby. The noise alone makes off-roading incompatible with almost every other recreational activity. The opposite is certainly not true: the activity of a birder in the forest does not ruin the experience of an OHVer nearby. Balancing different types of recreational activities—as the Forest Service attempts to do—must account for the exclusionary nature of one activity over others.
Further, OHVs cause an astonishing amount of environmental destruction—always have, always will. Check out LaDee Flats sometime: it is a wasteland of erosion, pollution and litter, nearby to some of the prettiest wet fir forests on the mountain. Certainly, the Forest Service has a responsibility to protect the forest, not to mention my drinking water, from actions that violate EPA standards!
I wish the Forest Service had not rewarded this behavior with sanctioned use. And four playgrounds on the mountain—three of them quite large—seems absurdly generous, considering that OHV users account for less than one percent of forest users. I'm glad, however, that they have concentrated the playgrounds in areas where OHVers already congregate and where they Forest Service has at least a reasonable chance at enforcing the rules.
posted 2 years, 8 months ago
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