WNF trails offer value

Published 10:17 am Friday, April 16, 2010

Wayne National Forest’s concept is simple: You want to play, you have to pay.

The national forest’s trail system opened for the season Thursday with more than 300 miles for recreation enthusiasts.

Want to just go for a hike? No problem. That is free and open year-round.

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But want to take an all-terrain vehicle, off-highway motorcycle, a horse or a mountain bike and you will have to get a permit to ride from now until Dec. 15.

Youth under the age of 16 can ride for free but adults have to pay for the services they are receiving. The cost of a WNF annual trail permit is $45; 3-day permit is $24; and daily permit is $12.

Some citizens have expressed their dissatisfaction with these charges, believing that all these permits should be free.

And that is essentially one of the fundamental flaws with our society. Too many people want something for nothing.

These charges are reasonable and needed to provide these services.

How else would the state or federal government provide these trails? Who pays for the construction, maintenance and repairs needed to operate this system?

This trail system doesn’t exist naturally and has to be developed by the forest service. And it has been, growing into a tremendous recreational draw for southern Ohio and the entire region.

Attracting visitors spurs the economy and makes an impact on our region.

With government agencies feeling more and more of budget crunch, it makes sense that those utilizing a particular service would shoulder the bulk of the cost.

Those who want to play have to be the ones who are asked to pay.