Letters to the editor

Posted: July 17, 2013

Compromise at Third Battle site?

What was the objective of the Civil War Preservation Trust when it generously granted the money to preserve the Third Battle site? It was my understanding that its mission was to protect the site from development and to provide a location for education and outdoor recreation. They did a wonderful job of both, with educational signage, parking, and walking trails.

As an added bonus, the biking community, mainly the Winchester Wheelmen, offered to maintain and expand the “single track” off-trail paths. Hundreds of volunteer man-hours have helped to design and maintain the trails. This is clearly the best public mountain biking venue in the area!

This is a boost for local businesses and a great fitness option for residents. Many of these trails have been in existence for more than 20 years, long before the park was established. This has also provided for a safer experience for all users by giving the bikers a challenging place to ride, separate from the walkers, dogs, and younger children utilizing the bigger, paved trails.

Apparently, Denman Zirkle and his foundation have decided these bike trails are “destroying historical resources.” If there is a specific site in the park that they feel is being eroded or should be avoided for historical reasons, I’m sure the bike trails could be altered to accommodate this. How is it that to bulldoze and clear-cut a corridor 15 feet wide through the site for a gravel walking path is fine, but a 12-inch trail which respects the forest is “destructive”?

I would hope that both sides would have an opportunity to discuss their objectives and find a solution that continues to allow everyone to enjoy the beauty and history of the Third Battle of Winchester.

David Harry

Frederick County

‘Alien’ input on pipeline disturbs

Tuesday’s Washington Post features an ad demanding the United States preclude the proposed pipeline bringing Canadian tar sands oil directly to Gulf Coast refineries. The signatories are 10 claimed Nobel laureates (only seven can be confirmed as such, only one of whom is an American).

Noteworthy is the temerity foreign interests flash in yet another case of massaging U.S. domestic policies. Unfortunately this administration is receptive to such interests. And, of course, The Post, which also features two full pages of comics every day, thrives on such bugling.

Maybe the pipeline should go forward or maybe it shouldn’t. That decision should be in the hands of commercial interests once safety and security have been vetted. Witnessing aliens, some representing unfriendly countries, stroking our decision-makers on such issues is disturbing.

Peter Gates