To the editor:
This is in response to a Jan. 29 letter in the Daily Mining Gazette.
The letter writer is mistaken; the snowmobile trails are designated as such and are not for "all to use," - that would be inviting dangerous situations with possible tragic results. These trails are created, improved, signed, maintained and groomed 100 percent by funds paid for by snowmobilers and not one penny of your taxes or fees go towards snowmobile trails. When snowmobilers are on these trails, the only things they expect to encounter are other snowmobiles and trail groomers, which they, not you, are paying for, not pedestrians, skiers, dog sleds or anything else.
On a similar note, would it be wise to jog or ride your bicycle on I-75? Technically on roads, pedestrians have the "right of way" but, in my opinion, I will not defy a 4,000 lb. car to prove I have the right of way, because there is the chance that I might end up being "dead right." The letter writer is publicly maligning snowmobilers for doing things they are not guilty of.
As far as legal designated users of the snowmobile trails, even the dog sled race that has been held up north for the last couple of years does not have the legal "right" to use or block off any trails and so far the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has essentially just turned the other cheek, but that may change in the future. On the other side of the coin, there are designated ski trails and ski slopes in our area; are they open for all users, including motorized?
The letter writer states snowmobilers are breaking the rules. The rules are all snowmobilers are required to pay $45 for an annual trail use permit and the fact is, there is not a speed limit on most snowmobile trails in Michigan.
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The letter writer asks why snowmobilers think they are the only ones with a right to these trails? They think that because those are the rules.
If, while you are walking where you do not belong, a few snowmobiles come by and one of them is experiencing some "snow dust" in his vision and sees you at the last moment, swerves to avoid you, flips over and gets hurt, whose fault would that be?
NEIL J. MARIETTA