August 27, 2008 · Updated 8:00 PM
For those who use the Mt. Loop Highway east of Granite Falls, please be aware of a major proposed project that, if allowed to develop, will completely change the quiet and natural beauty enjoyed by so many. Whether you live, hike, bike, fish or just enjoy an occasional scenic drive along this beautiful two-lane highway east of Granite Falls, you will be impacted.
The proposal is for a 75-acre motocross complex on 435 acres of forestland to be rezoned from Forestry to Forestry and Recreation. The three racetracks are to be developed along the north side of the highway approximately six miles east of Granite Falls. The same promoter, Paul Thomas Motorcycle Parks, recently tried to develop a similar project in the Maltby area but was defeated after nearly 1,200 people sent letters of protest the largest number of opposition letters in the history of Snohomish County. It is assumed Mr. Thomas has chosen this quiet rural area in hopes that fewer voices of opposition will be heard.
Motocross tracks are, by nature, environmentally unfriendly. The noise and pollution they produce make it difficult for these facilities to find a suitable location and existing tracks are being closed or relocated throughout the country as communities become less tolerant of the noise and environmental costs. Noise levels in areas surrounding the proposed complex will increase by 100 percent to 600 percent depending on location, impacting the residential and recreational users and a large variety of wildlife, including two threatened and endangered species living on and near the site. The track is expected to draw roughly 150 riders on weekdays, up to 400 riders on weekends and hundreds or even thousands, including spectators, during national circuit events. This extra burden on Mt. Loop Highway will make travel more difficult and dangerous for residents, recreation enthusiasts and the many aggregate trucks using the road. There are approximately 165 parking spaces proposed, yet some events will draw hundreds of participants and spectators resulting in long lines of parked cars along the shoulders.
Motocross enthusiasts have every right to enjoy their activity, but only in non-residential areas where such use will not impact wildlife and the environment.
What can you do? Those opposing the project can email the Snohomish County Planning Department Project Manager, Erik Olson at email@example.com or mail him at the Snohomish County PDS, 3000 Rockefeller, Everett, WA.
Jeff Van Datta