The Crow Wing County Board's series of meetings on all-terrain vehicle use continues tonight with a 7 p.m. session at the Merrifield Marathoners building in Merrifield.
If commissioners needed evidence that ATV users love their sport they found it at the first meeting where many residents expressed concern the county might ban the popular recreational vehicles.
Either misinformation or a mild case of paranoia fueled that rumor and the commissioners were quick to dispel that falsehood. The county board has no interest in banning ATVs. What the board is interested in is curbing the destructive habits by a select group of ATV operators to state and private property.
ATVs, there's no doubt, are here to stay. They're popular recreational vehicles that have eclipsed snowmobiles in certain respects. They are also useful to farmers and other working folks who must obtain access to hard to reach locations.
Still the fact remains, ATVs can damage wetlands and driveway approaches along the ditches.
The county board is trying to weigh possible solutions to the ATVs misuse and provide recreational opportunities at locations where they may be wisely used. This is a problem that's similar to the one that the public experienced with snowmobiles before the state's snowmobile trail system was fully established. In other words it's a problem that can be solved.
Responsible ATV users should work with public officials in discouraging harmful use of the vehicles and encouraging respect for private and state recreational property. Corridors ATV users can access should be identified by the state so they are kept in safe locations.
A little planning and common sense can go a long way to promoting sensible use of a popular vehicle that's a growing part of our tourism industry.
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