Mountain Loop Dustbowl
August 27, 2008 · Updated 7:56 PM
Going green is sensible. Reducing our carbon footprint is sensible. Evidence mounts daily that it may even be critical to the future of our planet.
Frivolously burning gasoline is not sensible. Turning an area of quiet, safe recreation into one of noisy dangerous recreation is not sensible.
Yet Snohomish County is seriously considering abandoning the smart ideas in favor of ones that are not too bright. The Mountain Loop Highway, a designated National Scenic Byway and a treasured access to tens of thousands of hikers, kayakers, photographers, bird-watchers and just plain sightseers, may have 466 acres of forest removed for a series of motocross racetracks. Quiet, carbon-sequestering trees would be replaced noisy, gasoline-burning motorcycles. Tree roots that help purify groundwater would be replaced by oil, gas and toxic spills that would harm groundwater. Clean air would be replaced by gasoline emissions and dust plumes, fouling the air for miles around.
Some claim that motocross is safe, family-oriented entertainment, but one must question a sport that often ends up with broken limbs, more permanent injuries and even death. The record proves that its a dangerous sport, indeed.
Traffic congestion and safety problems on all two-lane access roads and the narrow Stillaguamish River Bridge would push law enforcement and emergency services to the limit. Local revelry is likely to spread to nearby Forest Service roads where impromptu fun, racing and illegal camping could create further injuries and even major forest fires. Homes in the area, besieged by constant noise and congestion, would see their property values plummet.
The Mountain Loop, temporarily closed for several years due to storm washouts, is about to reopen. Lets not permanently damage it, and all those who use it and live along it, by turning it into a noisy dustbowl. Thats not a bright idea.