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Mountain bikers belong on road

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I just read Gus Thomson’s piece in the Auburn Journal (March 11) about the railroad people leveling the illegal mountain biker track on its property. While I strongly support them for booting the bikers off their property, the article fails to identify the major issues that are consistently associated with the aggressive and illegal behavior of a very large majority of mountain bikers. First, this was an invasion of private property. It was illegal activity by a group of people with low regard for the law, no regard for private property and virtually no respect for the social and environmental impacts of their behavior. It’s interesting to note, in the video accompanying the article, that “wildlife are returning” to the site! What this exposes is the displacement and harassment of wildlife that is characteristic of mountain biking activity. Of course, there would not have been an environmental impact assessment prepared. If this group of law-breakers moves their scheme to another location, local governments and citizens should insist that an EIR be conducted, and not by people with a conflicted interest. They routinely invade both private and public land and since they usually drive peaceful, traditional land users away, their activities tend to go unreported. It is unfortunate that local citizens did not report the years of mountain biker violations. The citizens of the region must be on the alert now for an attempted mountain biker takeover of local public space. Illegal, aggressive behavior by mountain bikers — led by, but not confined to “pros” who are paid by sponsors essentially to lure children and innocent people to engage in what is an extreme, dangerous, injury prone activity — is not acceptable on public land or in parks of any sort, state or otherwise. Mountain bikes should be confined, like all other vehicles, to roads used by machines. Their extensive ecological and social impacts have no place on public land. Dr. Brian L. Horejsi, wildlife scientist/ecologist, Calgary, Alberta, Canada