ATV thoughts

| November 18, 2020 7:00 AM

Hunters, snowcat enthusiasts and skiers should be really happy this week. Temperatures on the North Fork have been pretty steady in the mid-twenties day and night. I didn’t actually measure the snowfall, but my best guess is we got about a foot of powder snow in one day. It is easy to drive through but County plows have cleared the North Fork Road and year rounders have pretty much plowed the side roads and lanes. Trail Creek Road is now in terrific shape but now unplowed past the private property. Anyone trying to drive over to Graves Creek is likely to be unsuccessful. Several times in past years vehicles have had to spend the winter on the hill just past Timothy Meadow. Plus, it is a nasty hike out of there if it is cold with a lot of snow.

I have had an ATV for years and still enjoy riding it, sometimes alone and sometimes with others on their ATV’s. Lately though I have become less of a fan—especially with the increased number of side by sides.

When I ride with friends on public roads, we spread out to lessen the dust and we usually drive slow enough to watch for game. This summer I have seen the big side by sides roaring up and down the North Fork Road at high speeds and risking disaster. Worse, the North Fork Patrol and landowners have had more and more ATV’s and side by sides trespassing on private property and going into closed areas of public lands—going around gates or over berms.

I am sure that this is only a few of these recreationists but they threaten to spoil it for the majority. We have had two fatalities involving ATV’s going off the road and hitting a tree. We really don’t need any more. Especially we don’t need these lawbreakers to kill some innocent. What we do need is increased law enforcement. Really important is to have a Highway Patrol presence to control traffic—both recreational traffic and tourists as well as locals. As the road gets better and better speeds increase. As speeds increase so do accidents. With law enforcement accidents decrease and we should all favor that.

The heavy snowfall has increased the number of hunters but I have not seen any sign of success in the last week. When it quits snowing, maybe the game will start moving and success numbers will rise. I have seen quite a few deer and two small herds of elk, but no horns. Even so,

I will keep an eye on my meadow for game and another eye on the TV. I hope everyone stays safe, has fun—and in the words of that famous columnist, G. George Ostrom — be kind to one another.

Larry Wilson's North Fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.