Dear Editor:

Not long ago the Greenways Trail Alliance held a meeting outlining a very detailed plan on how they are moving forward to legitimize and to better manage the trail systems in our region for the purpose of providing a more responsible, more enjoyable and safer backcountry experience for all users while mitigating very serious environmental and wildlife issues.

Mark Halwa sent out an open and sincere invitation for anybody and everybody who wanted to join their group to do so and pointed out where comments and ideas could be shared on their website.

It is interesting that because of this meeting there have been several letters to the editor and a column penned by a Pioneer reporter all claiming that nothing is being done and there needs to be measures in place or a group formed to protect the environment and wildlife. Really?

The purpose of this meeting was to try to wash away conflict, to present the great lengths many cooperating groups are going to to protect the environment and wildlife and to encourage concerned parties to get involved. Either youre all not quite grasping what theyre doing (which I am sure you are) or your comments toward tougher regulations are just smokescreen covering up your real goals; to decommission existing trails and to stand in the way of any new ones.

Perhaps you just feel that your club and your club alone should have the reins? Are you concerned about the loss of donations if youre not spearheading this? If your motives are altruistic as you claim why not lend your knowledge, your talents and your wealth of backcountry experience to work alongside the amazing group of volunteers that have already put in literally hundreds of hours working to achieve the same exact goals you claim to seek?

The only way this process works is if all groups work together for a common goal. I respect the goals of the Greenways to provide world class recreational trails for all types of recreation that blend harmoniously with nature and minimize impact. Feel free to correct me if Im wrong, but from everything I have read in the past few weeks, the real goal from a small vocal few is not management at all; your goal is abstinence.

If we dont work together to give all backcountry users somewhere to do what they do in a responsible manner they will do what they do everywhere and more damage will occur. Pat Morrows slideshow clearly highlights what happened without a plan.

The only goal of the Greenways Trail Alliance is to work their butts off to help erase the scars of the past and to ensure the photos taken 20 years from now tell a much different story one of happy families soaking in all the blessings of the backcountry while minimizing their impact on the area we all love! Theyd likely be much more successful achieving their goals if everybody jumped on board to help them instead of spending endless hours criticizing them.

Dave McGrath