Dear Editor,


I read Mr. Dudley's opinion letter regarding Blackwater State Park and dirt bikes. I think he tells a one sided story. The acreage in question, Whiting Field Cir. which connects N.87 to the Back Gate Rd. has been closed to the public with locked gates for private hunting clubs (members only) for many years with no complaint by him or others. The hunting clubs are located on the north side of the road across from the civilian parking lot for Whiting Field Golf Course. These woodlands have been harvested for pine and replanted with pine for many decades for paper products and the strip cutting is by design. The state of Alabama has had dirt bike parks within their state parks for years and all have a great family atmosphere. They are ran like a Pensacola boat launch, $5 in an envelope and a ticket stub on your vehicle's dash and ride for a day on miles of marked trails and you don't have to be a member to do so. There are miles of burn breaks which you don't want vegetation growing and being able to collect money while keeping these marked areas cleaned off is a win-win situation. The trails (two parallel ruts) throughout Blackwater were created by hunters in trucks but he fails to mention that aspect, blames all damages on dirt bikes which aren't allowed, and I have seen the results of irresponsible 4WD trucks. They do a lot of damage to vegetation, small trees and wetlands. Those dug out mud puddles were not created by dirt bikes but 4WD trucks, intentionally most times! As for noise, a dirt bike makes much less noise than a hunting truck or trucks running wide open chasing hunting dogs in pursuit of deer, not to mention the guns being shot or the planes and helicopters from Whiting Field. Why do they run dogs in the summer, practice for them and the wild life? He mentioned the fence located a 1/4 to a 1/2 mile farther east of which I have seen, that it separated the deer, is a very simple and cheapest type fence available and does need access points for small fawns to escape to the much safer hunting clubs. The property there has not been destroyed it looks like one or two passes of a bush hog to separate the woods from the fence and getting rid of the woods wouldn't make it trail riding any longer. There are thousands of fences where there are no dirt bikes, you didn't complain about a one of them. I have nothing against hunters and their right to do so responsibly and am more than willing to share (you should do the same) since the hunting season is as short as it is and in extreme cold people don't ride and hunters are hunting. Individuals being reasonable and responsible (for trash, dumping, vandalism and turning people in who are not)  within our state parks no matter what they are used for is the true argument. Also as a veteran street rider and trail rider I have never seen a bike win out against a car or tree, that is not the place you want to be smashed against the bark of a tree!



                                                                                    Steven King