To The Editor:
In last week’s lead editorial, a local trails leader is quoted discussing people spreading misinformation about trails. It might have been anonymous, but a recent ad in The Valley Reporter raised real issues about habitat fragmentation and environmental damage that can occur from trails. It was a strong position, but it wasn’t misinformation. Similarly, my comments about the Mad River Riders’ proposal to the state agency that manages Camel’s Hump State Park for a mountain bike trail have not spread misinformation. Here are the salient facts: the Riders proposed the trail (through a protected area where mechanized trail construction is not allowed), and the state recently confirmed that the proposal has not been withdrawn, despite the Riders' recent statement that the trail proposal has been “abandoned.”
How about a simple letter from the Riders to the state permanently withdrawing the trail proposal and suggesting revision of the park plan to remove the “authorization” of the trail by the state? Problem solved! No more misunderstanding or misinformation about other people spreading “misinformation.” No more shifting the focus from the issue to the people with different views. No more evading the clear language of the conservation easement allowing construction only of non-mechanized trails and prohibiting surface and waterway disturbance and new bridges and abutments necessary for a bike trail. No unnecessary three-year process to decide whether or not to include a Phen bike trail in the local trails vision, which one member of the CRV reassures me is the way to deal with the issue. What a waste of time that would be, in defiance of the protective conservation easement.
The trails groups and the local recreation visioning group have become clubby, striking out at people with legitimate concerns expressed clearly and fairly. Please, instead, stop mischaracterizing true information as misinformation – a version of killing the messenger – and avoiding the issues.