Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor Did someone say boat?

To the editor:

I am writing in response to Dennis Marten's July 21st letter to the editor, which begins as follows: "I read with not much interest Mrs. Norma Wilson's opinion on PWC and boat users on the unenforceable ban area of the Missouri River." At least Dennis was being honest � his lack of interest in Norma's letter was so great he failed to comprehend it. Nowhere in Norma's letter did I see the word "boat" mentioned in the context of something she wished to be banned. In fact, Norma had described for the readers what "personal water craft" or "PWCs" were, adding that they "disturb the peaceful recreational environment that many of us seek when we boat, canoe or swim…" For Mr. Martens to accuse Norma of lumping boats with PWCs would appear to be an act of desperation to get boaters on the side of PWC users in an attenp to gain more power.

And, let us remember the ban, if kept, affects such a small portion of the Missouri River (leaving 97 percent for PWC use) it is a wonder what all the fuss is about. If it's strictly a matter of rights and freedom, isn't it also a basic right to be able to enjoy something in its natural state, as God made it, for its intrinsic value? In this age of increasing technology, more complicated and stressful lives, a portion of the river set aside, remaining (relatively) unaffected, is a huge asset. A little "chicken soup for the soul" never hurt anybody. So why are those opposed to the ban like kids in a candy store unwilling to share the candy? And what could false inferences and patronizing comments possibly do to further anybody's cause?

Martens writes: "It's too bad that Mrs. Wilson doesn't understand PWC and boat operation. I've never seen her operate either but she seems to know all about them or the supposed damage we boaters do." And, the fact that Norma didn't even mention anything about boaters doing damage suggests Mr. Martens may have been standing too long in all the polycyclic hydrocarbons PWCs emit.

So for anybody out there who still doesn't know what the heck we are talking about, here's the run down: PWCs (known by the brand names Jet Ski, Waverunner or Sea Do) are marketed as "thrill crafts" differing greatly from conventional boat design. Because of their low draft and internal water jet design they can enter shallow areas causing shoreline degradation and loss of wildlife habitat. They are extremely noisy � not only high decible, but high pitch � difficult not only for wildlife, but for people to adjust to, therefore the noise pollution associated with them is the most frequent complaint. Their two-stroke non-fuel-injected engines release up to 30 percent of their fuel/oil mixture directly into the air and water making them highly polluting. And while traditional boat injury accidents held steady or declined nationwide, PWC injury accidents have increased three-fold.

I am not a person who wants to ban PWCs � I would simply like to see 3 percent of the Missouri River remaining as close to its natural state as possible, which seems more than fair to me. And, should the ban remain intact for the two comparitively short stretches of river in question (Gavins Point Dam to Ponca State Park and Fort Randall Dam to Running Water) � I, and people like Norma promise, we will try very hard not to create a public menace with our canoes.

Please help preserve what is left of the old Missouri by sending your comments to: Paul Hedren, superintendent, Missouri National Recreational River, National Parks Service, Box 591, O'Neill, NE 68763, phone 402-336-3970.


A.J. Gawboy


Jet ski ban not unreasonable

To the editor:

It is not unreasonable to restrict jet skis from two segments of the Missouri River in the southeastern corner of our state. This restriction involves only about 3 percent of the Missouri's total surface area in South Dakota. The two segments are special and rare remnants of the Missouri River. Neither is channelized nor impounded behind a dam. Fragile wildlife habitat for endangered species and other animals is threatened by jet skis on these stretches of the river.

There are many people, including me, who fish, camp, swim, canoe, hike, birdwatch or relax there. Quiet is part of the appeal. Jet skis ruin that. Jet skis are louder and noisier than the small outboard motors used by many local anglers on these stretches of river. Jet skis are also inefficient and dirty, discharging one quarter of their fuel unburnt into the water, contaminating water with carcinogenic benzene and toluene.

During one hour of operation, most jet skis release as much hydrocarbon pollution as an automobile driven 5,000 miles. Shouldn't those uninterested in the noise and pollution of jet skis have places where jet skis cannot intrude on their outdoor experiences?

Why don't jet ski operators understand that the noise they produce can be bothersome? Why do jet ski operators insist on being able to play everywhere? Can't they be satisfied with 97 percent of the Missouri River in South Dakota?


Peter Carrels


Thanks for the help

To the editor:

I traveled from Jonesborough, TN to the class reunion in Vermillion and while in Vermillion had some trouble with my 1998 Town and Country van on July 8.

I really appreciated the quick servicing I received from Nels Brunick, Jr. and his son, David, so I could leave on Sunday morning for the Black Hills to visit my sons and then travel to Oklahoma City to visit my brother.

Thank you.

Leslie "Bones" Slowey

Jonesborough, TN

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