Pine Gap Road petition nightmare

  • Published in Letters

To The Editor:

For many years, we enjoyed hiking and wildlife tracking in the Bingo Basin/Battell Wilderness – oftentimes with a group led by well-known and highly respected naturalist. Often, he would point out native plant and animal life that exists and thrives in the forest – purely due to the unique state of clean air and clean water in the absence of anything other than passive recreation. This is truly a crown jewel for the state of Vermont.

When a local home went up for sale, we purchased it – accepting the challenge of renovations needed – for the privilege of living next to such a treasured forest.

Two years later, a new change in use is being sought to enable motorized access, right through the heart of this treasure.

Regardless of the rights of individuals to use a Class 4 road or not, the bottom line is the majority of the tax-paying inhabitants who have been using this area as passive recreation long term would like to see this Class 4 road be either decommissioned or reclassified as a trail.

It seems to be in the better interest of the town to reclassify Pine Gap Road as a trail and decide at a later time what that trail can be used for. Step 1 is to reclassify it.

If Pine Gap Road remains a Class 4 road, it will create a revenue-negative case for the town due to high maintenance costs. The road has tremendous amounts of water runoff and issues including a perennial stream. The town is responsible for this maintenance. This is unfair to all the revenue-positive taxpayers. A double whammy. A fair, feasible and economically sensible option is to change the Pine Gap Road to a trail. That way the road, being a trail, will still remain town property.

Seems like our slice of heaven has been baked into a pie of disaster and turmoil.

Welcome to Rochester.

Rod and Linda Leehy

Rochester, VT