Opinion » Mail

Mail Aug. 29-Sept. 4

Backwoods biker vs. CIEDRA

Have you read the text of CIEDRA, H.R. 222? The very first thing you read is that it is not a "wilderness" bill, but a land giveaway bill. The title says it all: "Economic Development." What does that have to do with wilderness?

The bill supposedly considers all recreational users. That's right, throw the mountain bikers a 20-acre bone near Boise and they'll shut up. Meanwhile, 5,693.47 acres are given to economic development. What does this have to do with wilderness? Sneaky.

We'll still have low-level military over-flights there. The Off Road Motor Vehicle Program gets $1 million. Livestock will still be allowed to graze. What do these things have to do with wilderness? Obviously, the big "W" wilderness label will bring more people to the area, so we need to expand and improve the Herd Lake campground to the tune of half a million dollars.

This is the part of the bill I find interesting: "Application of wilderness act. Subject to valid existing rights, the wilderness areas designated by section 201 shall be managed by the Secretary concerned in accordance with the Wilderness Act and this title." Under the 9th Amendment to the Constitution, I have a valid existing right to ride my bicycle on trails within the Boulder-White Clouds and will continue to do so.

Bicycle travel was never meant to be banned under the original intent of the Wilderness Act. When bicycling, I tend to stay on trails and camp in fewer places than when hiking. My hiking boots are the ultimate "all-terrain vehicle." The last time I rode a bicycle in the Boulder-White Clouds, I camped near a trailhead, outside the proposed "wilderness" area. The bicyclist has the least environmental impact of any wilderness visitor. I can travel to and through the Boulder-White Clouds from my house and back home on my bicycle without using any fossil fuel. Can a hiker or equestrian do the same within a standard vacation week?

The area is protected enough. The SNRA cannot be strip-mined or clear-cut. Many proponents of CIEDRA claim the area needs more "protection." I agree. Protect the SNRA from the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act.

—Arne P. Ryason, Hailey

Bikers vs. Cope

I'm a pretty faithful Boise Weekly reader, but Bill Cope could use a good stomping. My wife and I are both 50-ish, non-pudgy Harley-Davidson riders, and while we got the point about noise pollution (BW, Opinion, "Shush Up You Boys!" Aug. 15, 2007), we were both very offended by his characterization of Harleys and Harley owners.

First, I'd be more inclined to lend credibility to someone's rant against loud pipes if they rode something more challenging than a keyboard. Second, not all Harleys are loud, and not all loud V-twin bikes are Harleys. Third, riding leathers provide protection from the elements and, more importantly, idiots like Cope in cars. Fourth, he just insulted a large number of very responsible, good people, who donate a lot of their time to worthy causes and raise a lot of money for charities here in the Treasure Valley. Lastly, we were in the fortunate position of having about $50,000 in discretionary income to spend on our bikes, which might imply that we spread a few bucks around on other things, too. Now, we just might have to think twice about spending any of it at businesses that advertise in the BW, and we just might have to convince a lot of our Harley-riding friends to do the same thing.

Yes, there are too-loud bikes out there, but motorcycling is like anything else. In any large group, there will always be a few obnoxious, lame-brained morons that give the whole group (journalists, for example) a bad name.

How 'bout this? Cope can tell us what he does for recreation, and the Boise Weekly can give me a few thousand words to demean him and his choice of activities–but, hey, all in the name of fun, right?

—Mike Barnett,


Watch The Knee, Jerk

I read Boise Weekly for articles like your linkup of W. Grace Co. in Libby, Mont., with asbestos/vermiculite exposure in NYC after 9/11 (BW, Feature, "EPA's Dirty Bombs, Aug. 15, 2007). Excellent work!

Then you drive me crazy by having a liberal fit over Rep. Bill Sali. Mind you, I did not vote for the man, but his comments are allowable in the America I live in. He expressed concern over a changing cultural context. That is NOT racism. He did not say he hated or was out to get anyone. Stop having knee-jerk reactions.

Or are we under shari'a law already where no opinion can be expressed unless it lines up with the imams?

­—J. Ringer,

Middleton, ID

GC Bike Ban, Continued

In the August 15 edition of the Boise Weekly, Jacki Liddell wondered out loud, "It sure would be interesting to know how many of the Garden City Councilmembers ... live in Riverside Village?" Well, I have the answer for her: exactly zero!

She also states that Mayor John Evans was instrumental in the initial "bike ban." Not true. The section of path she referenced was planned in 1978, and construction began in 1980. Mayor Evans' involvement with Riverside Village began in 1985 after the first three phases of the development were completed, including the pathway from Glenwood Street to the Dry Creek dam.

She goes on to say, "I know for sure that Mayor John Evans ... is also a resident of Riverside Village." Uh, wrong again, Jacki. Mayor Evans lives in Meadow Creek, where he has resided for the last eight years. He has never lived in Riverside Village.

Dredging up tired old conspiracy theories about Garden City's elected officials does nothing to elevate the dialogue regarding the ordinance passed by the council designating a portion of pathway within the city as "pedestrian only." Just a few weeks back, Boise Weekly featured Garden City on the front cover and very accurately portrayed many of the positive things that have happened in the past few years under the watch of Mayor Evans and the current council. Her indictment of elected officials based on what she "knows" of a single, parochial issue is utterly ridiculous. For the record, I e-mailed Ms. Liddell asking for her phone number so that I could respond to her letter. She did not reply to my request.

—Jeff Souza, Garden City Councilmember