What a sad day when citizens are not allowed to walk on nature trails. It was my understanding that our parks were set up to be places where people can enjoy the natural environment, something that is a bit difficult while roaring through on a fossil-fuel-consuming machine with a plastic bucket on your head.
It sounds as if there is also a lot of abuse of the trail system by some riders, which seems to be the case in a lot of places. Were I running the park system, my first priority would be to focus on the “natural” part of the parks.
The Three Rivers Park District needs to either find a way for pedestrians/skiers and snowmobiles to work together, or ban the use of motorized vehicles, which is the case with much of the public park space in our state. Were I a resident of the area, I would defy the walking prohibition and fight a citation tooth-and-nail. Let’s keep our natural areas “natural.”
Jay Lawton, Willmar, Minn.
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I don’t know the comparable readership between general news and sports, but Dennis Anderson’s conservation columns deserve to be read by every reader. On Feb. 22, he wrote about a new report on wetlands loss in the Upper Midwest.
He notes that we are going the way of Iowa, losing wetlands to crops at an alarming rate. This is bad for sport hunters, conservationists, water users and farmers. Who is at fault?
Our farm bill encourages farmers who otherwise would protect vulnerable land to convert it to row crops. Amazingly high land prices force larger farms that are driven by money. Small and beginning farmers, and those who would raise other crops, are squeezed out.
Anderson noted that hunters can no longer rely only on their organizations to carry the fight. It is time for them and conservation organizations in general to bury their fights on other issues and unite to protect a disappearing resource.
Ray Schmitz, Rochester
I disagreed with most everything in Bonnie Blodgett’s Feb. 17 column but the sentence that takes the cake is “we are at core a rogue nation, quite possibly the most irresponsible in world history” (“On pipeline, a betrayal may be delivered”). Does this include Hitler’s Germany, Russia’s Stalin or China’s Mao?
DAVE SPILSETH, Orono
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The Keystone XL pipeline isn’t an environmentally sound project. Saying that the inevitable oil spills would be “readily cleanable” is wishful thinking. Pipelines leak. Underground oil spills can go undetected for long periods and contaminate drinking water. This is preventable. We should stop Keystone XL for going forward and focus on reducing our use of nonrenewable sources of energy.
BETTY TISEL, Minneapolis