2017-05-11 / Letters

Alternative path makes sense for Trail’s last leg

To the Editor:

The opinions expressed in the Enterprise over the last two months regarding the Heritage Trail extension have highlighted a wide range of perspectives. This is a divisive issue because there is currently no clear and acceptable solution which addresses private property and environmental concerns ...

There is a strong case to move on and finish the Trail at Good Harbor Beach where CR651 and M22 meet. In fact, my family owns property that borders the northern tip of the Park, and in a perfect world it would be highly desirable to have the Trail nearby.

However, I wholeheartedly support the rights of the property owners (dozens of them) who are contesting the route as currently proposed. It’s a classic case of individual rights vs collective rights, and hopefully a solution can be reached which addresses the very legitimate concerns of those who favor an alternate path…

Here are four salient issues from my perspective:

1. At a cost of at least $5.5 million, the last section of the Heritage Trail would track very closely to the ‘front yards’ of dozens of property owners whose privacy could be violated by thousands of bikers and hikers.

2. The NPS will apparently not allow a route closer to Lake Michigan, which would resolve the concerns of almost everyone.

3. I have walked nearly the entire length of the proposed Trail and there are very significant obstacles in terms of wetlands, dunes, steep grades and environmentally sensitive areas — not mentioning the hundreds of majestic trees and wildlife habitats which will have to be sacrificed.

4. For all those who want the Trail finished on the proposed route “because we deserve it,” I’d suggest that it would be a world class mistake to proceed until the concerns of private property owners and environmentalists are addressed.

Jim Schaberg
Gousty Knowe, Lake Leelanau

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