Letters

Off-road vehicles kick up controversy Regarding "Crush of off-road vehicles plies West's public lands" (Oct. 5): The Forest Service has paid close attention to off-road vehicle (ORV) recreation for many years. Twenty-five years ago, ORVs could be used virtually anywhere on Forest Service property. Since then, management has evolved from limiting use to certain areas, and has moved to limiting use to designated routes in designated areas. Every one of the forest planning documents I've seen for more than a decade has specifically planned for limiting ORV recreation, sometimes outrageously so. To say the Forest Service isn't planning or that they haven't worked hard to do some great conservation-related work is a bogus allegation.

The Recreational Trails Program is actually in its second generation as a vital portion of the nation's highway program and has a good record.

A portion of fuel taxes paid for vehicle use off-highway is devoted to recreational trails of all types, including equestrian, bicycle, backpacking, canoeing, and skiing in addition to OHV trails. And even though the nonmotorized trails have been receiving the lion's share of the grants, we think it is working well.

This program has been supported for years by such independent and well-respected nonmotorized groups as the American Hiking Society, the Rails to Trails Conservancy, and the American Horse Council. Among its other provisions, the law will not allow the conversion of a hiking or equestrian trail to motorized use.

No matter how much former Montana Congressman Pat Williams would have any of us believe it, the policy of how we manage recreation on our public lands will never be set by foreign national corporations. Federal land management regulations hold no surprises. They are set by our federal agencies working with interested members of the public. Proposed rules are published every day in the Federal Register. Eric Lundquist, Pickerington, Ohio Senior legislative affairs specialist

American Motorcyclist Association In the second paragraph your story states that off-road vehicles (ORVs) are "considered essential tools for hunting." That is not true. They may be considered as a hunting "tool" by some, but there are a great many hunters who decry the use of ORVs for hunting.

Many ORV users have abused the public lands and the regulations governing hunting on those public lands, thus giving an incorrect impression of hunters in general. Many hunters feel the only acceptable use of ORVs for hunting is by older or physically incapacitated hunters. Gayle Rogers, South Ryegate, Vt.

Thanks for the interesting article about off-road vehicles and the problems they cause. It is not just in the West, however. This past summer we were alarmed and irritated by people making a ORV trail out of the road in front of our cabin on a quiet Maine lake. It was further frustrating to hear the town officials say, "It's not our responsibility," and the responsible regulatory agency say, "There is nothing we can do about it." Ron Charles Sr., Town and Country, Mo.

More grammar tips please Thank you for publishing "A cheat-sheet for the grammatically challenged" (Oct. 5). I posted it on my department's bulletin board. For the next set of tips, I suggest: (1) the use of "I" and "me" (explaining why, for example, "between you and I" is wrong), (2) the use of the subjunctive ("if I were you" instead of "if I was you"), and (3) the use of the conditional ("if I had gone with you, I would have had more fun," rather than, "If I would have gone with you...."). Caia Brookes, San Francisco

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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