I love my home. I built it with my own two hands. I conceived right after we got running water. I made a baby gate out of leftover building materials. I have mature fruit trees I had the foresight to plant over a decade ago. They provide us with food and shade. We are frequently visited by birds and the town deer. My home is perfect, in a neighborhood ideal for raising children, within a community that is precious, embraced by a landscape that is downright Edenic.
And yet, my partner and I now have the nightly conversation of what it would look like to leave all this–so that we can once again find peace. Every day I talk to long-time locals who are either already leaving or waiting for a sign. So many of us are wrapping our arms tightly, tearfully, around this place we love so much while our feet are edging toward the door.
There is a grave misconception that serving the interests of ATV users and the businesses that serve them and ensuring the ability for people who live and work in this town to sit peacefully in their backyards are somehow equivalent obligations. That we must find a balance between these competing interests. No. Balance is requiring ATVs to be as quiet as cars if they wish to behave like them. Balance is requiring ATV users to show the same amount of respect as every other user group in their impacts on this community and the wild that surrounds us. Honestly, balance is a fundamental change in the way these machines are designed and operated in the first place.
Yes, the bigger problem is industrial tourism run amok. But these horrifically intrusive machines are the frontline juggernauts announcing loudly and definitively how overrun we’ve become. My beloved home now sounds like the parking lot of a monster truck rally from sunrise until after midnight. Anyone who thinks this is hyperbole is more than welcome to come on over. I beg the current governing bodies of this town to zoom out until they can see what’s really at stake. Heed what the people have cried clearly, over and over. Rein in the chaos sown by just a handful of visitors whose impact far outweighs their economic benefit. Cap the rentals, enforce a strict noise ordinance, and demand a pathway to rental fleets being fully electric or none at all. I have no more interest in finding a middle ground. I am beyond tired and I’m halfway out the door. The door to the hand-built home I desperately want to raise my daughter in. Please and thank you.