Letter: Pinelands Commission puts brakes on off-roading plan for now

     (<a href='https://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-4288316/stock-photo-pine-barrens-road'>andykazie</a>/Big Stock Photo)

    (andykazie/Big Stock Photo)

    I live in North New Jersey and have been doing volunteer work for the National Park Service at Delaware Water Gap. Off-roaders in my opinion overall are a big problem.

    [In response to “Pinelands Commission puts brakes on off-roading plan for now,” July 14]

    I live in North New Jersey and have been doing volunteer work for the National Park Service at Delaware Water Gap. I also perform other similar duties in other places more locally. Off-roaders in my opinion overall are a big problem and cannot be decided based on “individual” testimony, or the “I don’t do that” — that being littering and generally being irresponsible and inconsiderate of other life forms, when they wish to enjoy their unhealthy form of recreation

    This noisy and polluting pastime ruins it for others who are seeking nature and tranquility or opportunities to see some wildlife or beauty still available in the most densely populated state in the union. Recreation should be a healthy pastime and subordinate to the greater background of nature. ORVs and ATVs are inappropriate in areas of the Pinelands or any park harboring sensitive ecosystems.

    The ORV/ATV industry arguments are centered in a fantasy that they have a right — rather than a responsibility to understand the actual results of their pastimes. A study was done in Cape Cod National Seashore years ago at Race Point where ORVs were allowed on the beach in one area. The study proved (though ORV advocates denied) that riders were responsible for the obvious and ongoing litter problem on that beach. Their allegations that the trash originated from party boats off shore proved false.

    The problem is, even if one individual does not trash the area, most will not compensate by cleaning another’s mess. Accumulative effects mount quickly, and cleaning debris of plastic and other materials is not as easy as it sounds. It is better to understand why certain things must not be allowed and accept that as true.

    We are as a people too lost in concepts like freedom and individual rights; like, as long as it’s a common space and not private property, anything is fine, including leaving consumption waste behind. In truth, much of our common spaces and roadways have become de facto landfills. In the present state of austerity and cutbacks especially in park police or ranger numbers, and the availability and diligence to enforce and defend these resources, we must not allow this form of unhealthy and negatively impactful pastime.

    Keep ORVs and ATVs out of the Pinelands.

    Nick Homyak lives in Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey.

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