Room to roam

I am writing this letter as a response to two articles published in the February 18 Yukon News. One article concerned ATV use in the Yukon and the other snowmobile use.

I am writing this letter as a response to two articles published in the February 18 Yukon News.

One article concerned ATV use in the Yukon and the other snowmobile use.

I have several concerns with some of the statements made and the topics mentioned.

The headline on one of the articles states: “We’re seeking clean air. We’re Seeking Peace and Quiet. The very thing you’re doing, you’re destroying all that.”

There is a lot more going on in the Yukon and, for that matter, the whole world that is affecting the quality of the air we breathe.

Why place all the blame on recreational vehicles?

Research would probably show that, like all responsible companies, those manufacturing recreational vehicles are doing their part

to address this issue.

As for peace and quiet, there is more noise pollution created by the arrival and departures of aircraft than created by a snowmobile, and this is just one example.

In the article concerning ATVs, Vern Peters, of Trails Only Yukon Association, wonders whether there will be any alpine hills without an ATV trail over the top, or any valleys without a trail cut through.

My first thought is how did you get to these alpine places and valleys? Did you, perhaps, follow an already cut or beaten trail?

These articles stated there are 12,000 snowmobiles in the Yukon. That is saying almost half the population of the Yukon owns a snowmobile. I would imagine the ATV numbers are quite high too, which means a majority of the Yukon’s population live here so that can enjoy these types of activities.

It is interesting to note a recent news release put out by the Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (www.cohv.ca) states “The Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council reviewed the published results of the final phase of York University’s study on the Fitness and Health Benefits of Off-Road Vehicle Riding, and is pleased to confirm, once more, that these findings support what all-terrain vehicle and off-road motorcycle clubs have been saying all along – that being out on the trails on your ATV or ORM is not only fun, but contributes to individual and family emotional and physical well-being.”

The release further states, “This groundbreaking, first ever comprehensive, scientific probe of the fitness and health benefits of ATV and ORM recreational riding proves that riding creates sufficient opportunity to stimulate changes in aerobic fitness and falls within the physical activity guidelines of both Health Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine.”

As Peters says, the Yukon belongs to all of us, so we should all be able to enjoy it in a way that best suits our individual lifestyles.

I agree that you have to ride responsibly, that you have to love and respect the wilderness and enjoy getting out on the land.

But judging from the contents of these articles, maybe Yukoner’s should stop building roads entirely.

I was born and raised in the Yukon, and am now raising my own family here.

I have been to many beautiful places in the Yukon all thanks to an ATV or snowmobile.

I have also been able to take my 80-year-old father, who also enjoys the wilderness, to these places.

This would not have been possible without an ATV.

I will also add that you would never know we had been there.

Let’s face it, there are a lot more issues affecting our environment and terrain than snowmobiles or ATVs.

I would much rather see my children, or any others, out riding on the trails around town and pursuing a healthy lifestyle, than see them downtown hanging around on the streets experimenting with alcohol and drugs.

ATVs and snowmobiles also play a huge role for many Yukon people who rely on them for providing food for their families.

The fact of the matter is we live in an ever-progressing and advancing society and should all look at the big picture instead of getting angry when we hear or see someone doing something they enjoy and love to do, just because it is not our idea of enjoyment.

Jim Campbell

Whitehorse