The Upper Yahara River Conservancy is a treasure-home to deer, cranes, turkey, fox, eagles, and all the other wildlife. Bit by bit, this small 11 acre jewel is being infringed upon. The latest, a request to cut mountain bike trails into this last tiny piece of nature-11 acres of forest to be cut into 2 ½ miles of trails.

Why? Because some kids used their bikes off the paved bike path, to cut unauthorized trails into the woods. Instead of admonishing kids to stick to the miles of bike path already provided, are they to be rewarded with making their incursions into this tiny woods permanent? Cutting paths and riding bikes through the woods would drive away the wildlife that use those woods to escape humans.

Trails through the woods would permanently change the Conservancy, and deprive other people from their use of the Conservancy-for wild life viewing, birdwatching, hiking, and the peaceful enjoyment of nature. This part of the Conservancy was designed to have low human impact-the opposite of biking though the very woods where deer and other wild life live, hide, and raise their families. Kids deserve a place to bike, THE BIKE PATH-and everyone-including these kids and someday, their kids, deserve a place to enjoy wildlife-but once wildlife is gone, it is gone forever.

Googling “mountain bike paths near me” brought up more than a dozen other places to mountain bike within 10 miles of DeForest-including the miles of paved paths the in the Conservancy that the kids SHOULD have stayed on. Why does this last refuge of wildlife need to be taken as well? Why can’t kids stay on the bike path instead of tearing through the woods?

Finally, what would keep those kids from using their bikes to cut even MORE unauthorized trails through the conservancy? They didn’t respect the paved bike paths-why would we assume they would respect the new bike trails? They could keep cutting unauthorized trails until the wildlife was gone and the hills were eroded. Bikes need to stay on the miles of bike paths that already go through the conservancy.

Save the Upper Yahara river Conservancy and save the wildlife- so everyone can enjoy this beautiful piece of nature. Kids have many places to bike, but wildlife so few places to live.

AnnMarie Preece, DeForest

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