Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Chill out

Chalk it up to the phase of the moon, or El Niño, or the alignment of the planets, but suddenly conflicts among snowmobilers and non-snowmobilers in Bellevue seem to be in vogue again. Tempers are flaring.

Reports of shouting matches and threats made in and around Bellevue are popping up more frequently.

It is not a style of debate befitting Bellevue.

Just as the Winter Coalition, a group of snowmobilers and cross-country skiers, came to a compromise in September 2000 over the use of terrain in the northern Wood River Valley, people in Bellevue can and should resolve the conflicts civilly. There should be discussion not invective.

Non-snowmobilers should respect the fact that Bellevue's ordinances permit snowmobiling—with specific restrictions. But users need to obey the laws laid out for them.

The ordinance allows snowmobilers to use city streets—though not state Highway 75, except to cross it at Broadford Road—to access snowmobile recreation areas. They must yield to other vehicles, be holders of an Idaho driver's license, travel in a single file and at no greater than 10 mph. They cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They are not allowed on city streets from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., unless returning from a recreation area outside the city limits.

The rules are pretty simple. All we need is a little common courtesy and to let the Bellevue Marshall enforce the laws.

Some people like to ski, some like to snowmobile, some like to knit.

Let's get on with it and enjoy ourselves. Leave the rude behavior to the big city folks.

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