Northwest NEWS

February 19, 2001

Editorial

Trails are a benefit to the community

I am writing in response to Maxine Keesling's letter of Jan. 29. Public comment is vitally important. She encouraged public comment on various unpublicized issues in the county's amendments to the comprehensive plan.
   One of the issues that she listed was "Forcing landowners with equestrian trails to permanently dedicate those trails, if a land division is sought, not just for equestrians but also hikers and cyclists."
   As we can all see around us, King County is growing so rapidly that, in just the last ten years, much of the "rural" areas of the county are barely recognizable as rural anymore. Major housing developments and road widening projects have replaced the farms and forests that originally qualified this area as rural. Those old farms, and the ones that are still hanging on, had horses and other livestock.
   The forests were laced with trails that were used by horseback riders (equestrians), motor bikers, hikers and mountain bikers. Many people moved here because of these wonderful opportunities to enjoy a rural lifestyle, ride trails close to their homes, and live close to where they work (Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, etc.). There are very few places in this country that can offer all of this.
   These people bring tax revenue into the community just like everyone else. This rapid development is threatening this wonderful lifestyle.
   As these people move out of the area because the congestion has finally driven them away, their acreage is frequently sold to developers or just someone who isn't interested in having a farm.
   If the trails that they used are not preserved, there will be less to keep the people here who were drawn here by the easy access to trails. More land will become available to developers. More cars. More congestion.
   These trails are a benefit to the community and we should welcome efforts to preserve them. We should be happy to have the small farms and livestock that are the vestiges of a lifestyle that may soon be gone and missed by many.
   Joan Fleming, Woodinville