By HDN staff
The executive director of the Montana Wilderness Society hit the nail on the head when he responded to the Nation Forest Services secret study now revealed pertaining to the opening of a Great Western Trail.
No Muscle-powered constituency is asking for the Great Western Trail, said Bob Decker.
So why did Congress allocate $300,000 in taxpayers money to the National Forest Service to study a proposal that no one asked for? Whos bright idea was it, then, to open Montanas wild back-country to motorized vehicles, such as motorcycles and 4x4s with big muddies for tires? Why was the study, now in its third year, kept such a virtual secret until now? Only recently has it become public knowledge.
The proposed Great Western Trail theres nothing great about it would be open to all types of off-road vehicles. As proposed, it would stretch from Mexico to Canada and allow people to gain access to wild country that could only be accessed on foot or horseback.
Theres a reason why these areas can only be accessed by foot or horseback, and theres more than one reason why it should stay that way.
Of the 192 million acres of national forest, only 60 million acres remain wild. That means 130 million acres have been improved, with construction, mining or logging all of which need vehicle access, which typically, unless were slow, necessitates a trail of some sort.
How many trails do we need?
Apparently, we need to extend our exhaust-spewing, noise-making display of human superiority into the woods. And to do so with a complete disregard for conservation efforts efforts to protect wild habitat from becoming swallowed in our endless effort to conquer the world by vehicle at any cost.
The trail has three proposed routes: The Swan Valley Route, The Wise River Route, and the Bitterroot Mountain Route, all of which bring vehicle traffic closer to infringing upon particular areas that are considered wilderness.
Now that the cats out of the bag, and the National Forest Services dirty little secret has been revealed, you can write to Roshanna Stone, who is conducting the brilliant study.
Her address is Great Western Trail Study Leader, USDA Forest Service, 2647, Kimberly Road, Twin Falls, ID 83301.
By the way, did you know that a Continental Divide Scenic Trail already exists? It runs north and south through the Rocky Mountains.
We dont need another one, and as Bob Decker said, This is gratuitous motorization through wild country, and is excessive.
We couldnt agree more.