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Letter: OHV park is not a good fit

This letter is in response to an effort being undertaken by a small group of people to create an ATV amusement park in our beautiful and fragile Minnesota River valley. The proposed off-highway park would be located in Sections 22 and 23 of Sacred Heart Township. The park would be the responsibility of Renville County to manage and maintain and would cost in the neighborhood of $1.3 million (yes, $1.3 million for a single-use park).

The purpose of the park would be to encourage people from all over the state to come here with their OHVs and amuse themselves by climbing hills, jumping slopes, getting stuck, and just seeing how much their machine can go through. Keep in mind this is not a Mom and Pop ride down the lane with the grandkids. This is a park designed for exhibition-type riding. An OHV park leaves a very heavy footprint on the landscape and its negative impacts are serious and unavoidable.

It is my belief that this is a poor choice for a location for this type of park.

The Minnesota River valley is the only landscape left in the area that offers any reasonable outdoor recreation opportunities. This small ribbon of land is the last stand for most of the county's wildlife. It is also the last of the wild places for people to enjoy the great outdoors through low-impact use such as hunting, fishing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, mushroom hunting, horse riding, bird watching and just generally good walking-around land, as stated by a good friend of mine.

Much effort has been put into restoration, preservation and enhancement of this unique landscape through local, state and federal agencies along with a long list of private nonprofit organizations. The proposed OHV park is not a good fit with past efforts to preserve and protect this beautiful and environmentally sensitive landscape.

Tom Kalahar