Re: hiking trails damaged by quads (April 15)
I too have hiked in the Heart Lake area for over five decades. Since retiring eight years ago, I made an effort to hike the Lake loop trails weekly. I also see damage in some of these areas. However, in my opinion, Mr. Szasz seems to suffer from tunnel vision regarding “quads and ATVs.”At Heart Lake, there is considerable damage caused mostly by trucks and SUVs. The Town of Ladysmith installed a gate, which should have cut off access. In a short time, its cemented gate post was pulled out. The vehicle used weighed several times more than any ATV.
Signs, with phone numbers to report violators, placed in areas like these should make a difference. Responsible people will not hesitate to report destructive and inconsiderate behavior. Bad actors know their actions can be reported as quickly as it takes to make a call.
On one of my regular morning hikes, on the trail along Heart Lake, I noticed that some people had backed a pickup into the edge of the water. There was a boat in the back of their truck. As I was watched, my cellphone rang. I talked on the phone briefly and carried on down the trail. By the time I walked over there, they were gone. They saw me watching and then phoning and decided to fish elsewhere that morning.
Two years ago, in order to access some of the mountains I used to hike, I bought an ATV. Like many hikers I know, I previously had a negative attitude towards them. Since then, I have travelled with other ATV “youngsters” like myself all over the backcountry behind Ladysmith. The ATVers I know love the woods as much as any hiker. They are very knowledgeable about the forests. Many of them have worked most of their lives there. They feel very protective of these lands and would not knowingly damage them.