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The Pilot-Independent
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 21st, 2007 04:36:46 PM

I was quite interested to read Mr. Norton's essay concerning the people who use and appreciate Minnesota public forests. His figures are, at first glance, quite impressive. However, as Mark Twain once put it, "There are lies, damned lies and statistics."
Mr. Norton starts from a premise that all those people who hunt, hike and birdwatch, etc., are somehow excluded from all forests that have motorized trails. This premise is patently false. While hunters face restrictions on their actions regarding hunting seasons and the safety of other forest users, the same cannot be said for most other non-motorized uses.
The fact of the matter is that he represents the very elitist point of view that, "my way is the best way to enjoy the forests," If you don't agree, then we, as a majority, will apply pressure to the Department of Natural Resources to make sure our use is supported while yours is denied.
Those who hike and birdwatch have almost unlimited access to all forests, if they choose not to use certain areas of the forests because they object to the way others choose to use it that is still their choice. Their opportunities to use the forests are limited only by their subjective views on how forests should be used. Views, I might add, that folks like Mr. Norton have no problem requiring others to comply with. I dare say that even in "limited" and "managed" forests there are many acres of forest that are not accessible for ATVs but remain open to hikers and other user groups. So Mr. Norton's claim that they have only gotten 4 percent rings hollow.
ATV riders are not asking that all other uses be removed from the areas they enjoy riding. They simply want to share in the forest experience on public forest lands. They are asking for accommodation for their activities just as Mr. Norton is. 386 miles of ATV trails on the 1,211,984 acres of public forests is still patently unfair to those who enjoy riding ATVs and those who enjoy other motorized transportation have even less.
Candace Oathout, chair
Citizens Against Recreational Eviction-USA
Crystal, Minn.
 

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Last year at a hearing in the capital build Mr. Norton and someone from the Jack Pine coalition also stated this, and voiced their elitist view.

I testified in front of the Minnesota congress that I started as a hunter and move into motorized sports because of the access they gave me.
They are trying to split up the motorized groups from other groups, lets not let them split us up!

And please don’t split up from the MN4WDA, Mr. Norton and friends are just sharpening there teeth…
FYI, we only have 11 miles of trails!
 
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