I have been a homeowner and taxpayer in the same location for over 26 years. My property abuts the Stower Seven Lakes State Trail (SSLST). I have enjoyed the peace and quiet that comes with a quiet-sports trail. But the county, and chairman Chris Nelson in particular, have been relentless in trying to motorize the trail.

Has it really come to this, where the county is almost literally kicking hikers, skiers, and fat tire bikes off of the trail, and onto a primitive, snowmobile track through the woods and swamp? That, chairman Nelson, is nothing short of shameful. And to think that the DNR actually approved this awful, unsafe idea!

Allow me to make some additional points: 

The SSLST is the only non-motorized state trail completely within the county, and is an outstanding gem.  The popularity of this non-motorized trail is continuing to grow, with a steady stream of skiers, fat tire bikers, snowshoers, hikers, and regular bicyclists, including many families with children. Can’t the non-motorized people have at least one trail? Is that really too much to ask? 

The ‘inclusive’ argument by the motorized proponents is an empty argument; i.e.: “we want the trail to be open to everyone”.  While snowmobile riders would not be intimidated by hikers or bicyclists, no hiker, skier, or bicyclist that I know would be comfortable sharing the trail with motorized vehicles (FYI: where it is impossible to create a separate trail, snowmobiles and people-powered will share the same trail).  It is more than uncomfortable; it would be unsafe - especially for elderly and children.   

My property value will plummet from the noise and pollution from the trail (the corner of my house is approximately 90 feet from the edge of the trail). 

For the long-term welfare of the good citizens of Polk County, I urge the county and state officials, and my fellow citizens, to do whatever they can to maintain this wonderful trail as non-motorized. Thank you. 


Jim Judkins 


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