As a homeowner and taxpayer for over 25½ years whose property abuts the Stower Seven Lakes State Trail (SSLST), my strong desire is to keep the trail as non-motorized. I strongly oppose allowing ATV’s/UTV’s, snowmobiles, or other motorized vehicles on the trail. Allow me to make some important 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 hikers and bicyclists, including many families with children.
The ‘inclusive’ argument by the motorized proponents is an empty argument; i.e.: “we want the trail to be open to everyone”. While ATV and 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. It is more than uncomfortable; it would be unsafe - especially for children. It isn’t a matter of excluding anyone, but rather is a matter of safety. For example, interstate highways do not allow pedestrians and bicyclists; not because the Department of Transportation wants to exclude people, but simply because it would be unsafe to allow pedestrians and bicyclists into the interstate highway environment.
There is no practical way to widen the trail corridor in order to accommodate separate motorized & non-motorized trails; it would be prohibitively expensive (cuts, fills, wetlands, bridges), and extremely questionable if all environmental permits could be obtained.
My property value would plummet from the noise and dust 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 for your consideration.