To The Editor:
I appreciate The Valley Reporter’s coverage of the issues around outdoor recreation, specifically regarding the breakup of wildlife corridors and threats to the natural environment by human encroachment, pollution, and degradation of habitat. Regardless of the justifications or complaints on all sides of the issues, there is no justification for the ethically bankrupt practice of placing the soulless values of human commerce above the values of living a life of peaceful and respectful coexistence with the natural world.
And yet here we are, on the one hand expressing fears of encroachment in the Phen Basin (real or imagined), yet on the other are unable to solve the very real problem of how to get humans safely across the asphalt ribbons that are the vector for the spread of toxic fumes and asbestos dust, along with noise and arrogance. We have so subordinated human activity to vehicles that now we’re going to try placing “human crossing” signs alongside the deer, moose and bear crossing signs as if the mere presence of humans and other animals is an insult to the flow of vehicle traffic and rewards of modern living.
The dead deer and hawks on the side of the road are to be joined by dead cyclists, runners, hikers, bird-watchers, mycologists, and children trying to enjoy the sunshine. Compare a rabbit darting for cover when disturbed by the noise of a snowshoer, or a squirrel scrambling up a tree as a bike passes on a trail, with the existential dread of watching a pedestrian try to cross from the Skatium rink all the way to Canteen Creemee in quiet desperation. A number of years ago a reader of this newspaper suggested grinding up Route 100 and putting steel gates across it to protect the downtown and watch the natural world bloom. Perhaps as a compromise we could employ the same methods and measures that are used throughout the world to promote pedestrian and outdoor recreating above traffic.