While the bare ground seems to be making the issue moot at this point, we & #039;re glad to see snowmobiling will be allowed on a public road in Barnet this year.

To the dismay of neighboring homeowners, selectmen voted 2-1 to keep Morrison Hill Road open to snowmobile traffic. Combined with a section of the Somers Hill Road, the Class 3 Morrison Hill Road will serve as a portion of the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers snowmobile trail network.

We understand how people who live along the road cherish their privacy. That & #039;s why they chose the seclusion of the Morgan Hill area to live, as opposed to a village location. Unfortunately for them, the sport of snowmobiling also must exist in the more secluded areas. The VAST system across the state is huge and must include the Northeast Kingdom for economic and recreational reasons.

While high snowmobile traffic does include challenges of proper public safety measures, Morgan Hill Road resident Ken Hammer bases his fear of increased crime on very isolated incidents. He referred to the Zantop murders in Hanover and nearby thefts in his arguments for Morgan Hill Road to be closed to snowmobiling. It is unjust for Hammer to condemn the sport based on extremely rare criminal occurrences.

The selectmen & #039;s motion to allow snowmobile use does rightfully address homeowner concerns. The wording provides for review of the road use after this snowmobile season. We expect and hope that all parties to this issue will pay close attention to the sport and its impact on the Morrison Hill Road this year.

We also hope that all snowmobilers on any portion of the VAST network will strive to ensure open access of trails for the future by being responsible riders today. There are a lot of generous property owners out there who allow the sport to flourish. They deserve nothing less than absolute respect for their land by passing snowmobilers.

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