Yesterday I was at the park with my kids. It’s a large park, with three playgrounds, a splash pad, a creek, and a disc golf course that contains nice walking trails through the woods. There’s a walking path that connects our neighborhood to the park. And it was perfect until off road vehicles started illegally coming into the park and destroying it. Yesterday, as I sat by the banks of the creek with my kids, not twenty-five feet away from the playground, two four wheelers came tearing through the park, circled us, and then road off to the disc golf area. I was beyond incensed. I’ve seen them plenty of times in the disc golf area, but never in the area with the playgrounds. I thought I would be safe with my kids in the playgrounds, but looks like in this day and age you can’t even take your kids to a playground of all places anymore without worrying about them getting run over!
The area they were in? A little field area between the playground and creek where families kick soccer balls, fly kites, let their kids run around and play tag, fly drones, toss baseballs, etc. Four wheelers were charging through this grassy area with no roads where people used to feel safe letting their kids play with abandon. And as usual, they also like to throw the intimidation factor and circled us.
In the past year I have tried and failed to get people to do something about this issue. I have called the police. The gave me a millions reasons why they can’t do a damn thing about it, even though it is illegal. I contacted the mayor, who was about as helpful as the police. I’ve talked to other residents. I’m the only one who cares. I’m the only one there everyday. I contacted every local environmental organization I could think of, nothing. I tried the Unitarian church. Apparently I’m the only one who gives a damn.
In the past year, I stopped going on the trails around the disc golf course with Buddy, which killed me. But it felt too risky. We stayed close to the main areas of the park thinking they wouldn’t dare go up so far. A few weeks ago I decided to take a chance and go on the trails with Buddy. The walking trails were alarmingly overgrown. No one was playing disc golf. Let me emphasize how unusual it is to be in that park and not see anyone playing disc golf. The disc golfers are there every day, all hours or the day, in any weather. Or rather they used to. In the past two weeks I haven’t seen a single disc golfer. People are getting scared to walk in a park because of the sheer recklessness of the people riding off road vehicles through the park.
I’ve had people tell me to just go to a different park. Well, it sort of defeats the purpose of having a park within walking distance. There’s also the whole exercise of walking to and from the park. Or just reducing our carbon foot print. Plus, my kids love that park and beg to go there. It’s also really the only thing that made living here redeemable for me is having a nice park within walking distance. Further, my kids and I aren’t the ones doing anything wrong! The jerks riding the off road vehicles are! It’s illegal! It causes massive damage to the environment due to erosion and pollution! And it’s dangerous! Why the hell should we be punished because of them?
Every year, though, those off road vehicles become more daring, more intrusive. Now they are driving around the playgrounds. I wonder if it’s really going to take a kid getting run over for anything to be done about this!
One thing I am sick of, though, is older generations complaining about this upcoming generation being addicted to electronic devices and never going outside. As a mother who makes a tremendous effort to make sure my kids spend a lot of time outdoors, this upcoming generations faces threats previous generations never have before. Such as off road vehicles tearing through their playgrounds.
If anyone knows of a cabin in the middle of nowhere where no off road vehicles exist, please let me know. I’m about done with society.