Friends must speak up against ATVs on the trails
I am writing to express my concern over the recent proposal to allow all-terrain vehicles in some of Bermuda’s public parks and walking trails.
Bermuda is the sixth most densely populated country in the world, behind territories such as Hong Kong and Singapore, with 1,250 people per square mile.
The island’s residents have very few safe, open spaces in which to exercise and connect with the natural world.
If the definition of government is the allocation of scarce resources, the protection of Bermuda’s open spaces should be among its top priorities.
The Railway Trail provides a free, quiet, accessible space for walkers, runners, birdwatchers and cyclists. It has the potential to be a natural remedy for many of Bermuda’s growing health problems — obesity, heart disease, diabetes and depression among them.
Carl Anthony points out that the (predominantly white) environmental movement is largely concerned with the protection of wilderness. As a black environmental activist, he has argued that urbanisation and its attendant health problems disproportionately affect minorities and the poor. Protecting the environment in places where people live close together is thus a question of social justice.
It is essential that the parks and Railway Trail remain free from motorised vehicles of any kind. One ATV tearing through a public space has the potential to disrupt dozens of people seeking sanctuary.
The rights of the many in this case must be protected against the reckless pleasure of the few. The island has been the beneficiary of a tremendous effort by the Friends of the Bermuda Railway Trail to restore this unique and crucial resource. Bermudians must make their voices heard to protect this valuable amenity.
Mark Twain said of Bermuda: “There are no harassments; the deep peace and quiet of the country sink into one’s body and bones and give his conscience a rest.”
Sadly, this sense of peace has been eroded in almost every corner of the island.
Lose it on the Railway Trail and in public parks, and there would be an even greater paucity of free, natural spaces for Bermudians to enjoy.
This would be a travesty and an injustice.
FRITHA WOLSAK, Old Heathfield, East Sussex, England
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