Letters

From the week of May 24, 2001

Off-Road Rage

Dishing the dirt: I started riding here in the Valley 28 years ago and I have seen a lot of changes regarding off-highway vehicle use here and in California ("Rec Room," Amanda Scioscia, May 10). No one gave a hoot that we were out there riding because, I feel, we were unseen and unheard. Now that others have come out to enjoy the area in a recreational capacity or have moved right up to the border of this area, they want to give the OHV folks the boot.

As you may have already guessed, I'm not too happy about that. I'm also an avid mountain biker and I have also been a backpacker for longer than I have been riding. To me, it's all very simple. I don't go backpacking where OHV activity is allowed, although I'm glad I have the choice to do so. I don't want to go off-roading where people are backpacking in some pristine wilderness area. I also don't want to get run over by some knucklehead (yes, there are more knuckleheads on OHVs than I'd like to admit) on a dirt bike when I'm mountain biking. So I choose not to ride in those areas.

I'm sorry your article didn't have much talk of people trying to work out a solution to suit everyone. Just seems like a lot of bickering, smack talking and finger pointing. I believe we can come up with something that would make most of us happy -- except Carla.

Mark J. Lander
via Internet

Terrain wreck: While we were concerned that only the most contentious parts of conversations were used in your recent article on off-highway vehicle use in environmentally sensitive areas, we do understand that this is an emotional issue.

The McDowell Sonoran Land Trust would like to reiterate our long-standing position of support for appropriate public access in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. We encourage our friends in equestrian, mountain biking, climbing, hiking, birding and other non-motorized passive use groups notto be misled by elements hoping to convince them that we will work to remove their use next. Appropriate access is essential, not only from a recreational standpoint but also from an educational one.

We continue to maintain our position that motorized use in a preserve is not appropriate and the scientific support for this position is solid. We hope OHV users will realize that preservation is preferable to development in this scenic, ecologically rich area and choose to either drive 10 minutes north to the Tonto National Forest, which will continue to allow responsible use of motorized vehicles on designated trails, or learn to enjoy preserve land in another fashion.

Carla, executive director
McDowell Sonoran Land Trust

Narrow path: I have a dirt bike and enjoy Pima and Dynamite two to three times per month. I am a sales manager for a chemical company and an environmentalist. My company practices "zero discharge" chemical production. My riding partners are engineers, policemen, contractors and programmers. We are family people teaching our children to respect and enjoy the environment. We are your children's coaches, scout leaders and community volunteers. We are not independently wealthy, unemployed, activists without responsibilities, or landed gentry living on large estates. My friends and I ride on single track trails through unspoiled desert. The terrain is difficult. We always stay on path and leave no trace behind. We often see mountain bikers whom we treat with courtesy and respect. This is a very large area. With planning it can accommodate rock climbers, mountain bikers and horse riders.

Rick Nalven
Scottsdale

Off-highway patrol: I was struck with the realization that Arizona recreationists in general, with the notable exception of dirt bikers, seem to be as elitist as they are passionate about their chosen pastime. The anti-dirt bike tunnel vision of the rock climbers, horse riders, mountain bikers and Jeep tour operators you interviewed was a sad commentary on the ability of freedom-loving outdoor enthusiasts to respect the freedom of fellow recreationists having different interests. Even sadder is the likelihood that without some kind of political alliance by the aforementioned groups -- which must embrace the plight of the dirt bikers -- the only group that will ultimately have access to lands slated for "conservation" will be the flower-petters who don't want any of us out there in the first place.

Greg Baumann
via Internet

Doggy Styler

Piddle faddle: Regarding "Urine the Dog House" (Laura Laughlin, May 17): How do you train a "competent" employee not to do something that she should already know is just not done? If PETsMART believes it has the ability to "train" this person, then we all are doomed.

Andrea Curo
via Internet

Dog house: My God! Could you have written a more heart-wrenching, sensational piece? That setup paragraph was so sappy I wanted to puke! Were you ever trying to tap into the emotions.

"Phoenix accountant Danny Miller considers his two cockapoos his children. So when he takes them to a groomer, he feels like parents do when they take their babies to day care. He is entrusting his precious young ones to someone else's care, hoping they will treat them with love and respect. And that's why he was particularly horrified when he watched a PETsMART groomer use his youngest dog, Mocha, as a mop, wiping up a puddle of urine she had created."

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