Who is Pisgah for?

Editor of the Reformer:

On Sunday morning, Dec. 15, we awoke to a winter wonderland -- 10 inches of beautiful fluffy snow. What a great day for snowshoeing in Pisgah State Park at Kilburn Pond. On Monday, I went there but I was truly disappointed to find that the parking lot at the Kilburn trailhead had not been plowed. Because some snow had been pushed to the side, I was able to pull in, but there was no more room for others unless they blocked me in. On Wednesday, after a fresh four inches had fallen, I repeated my trek, and again the parking lot was not plowed. Why not?

For years the state has mentioned that Pisgah State Park makes no money, hence very little money is being spent on it. For the last few years many of us have been asking for the placement of iron rangers (a secure system that allows people to make donations for use of the park) at all of the trailheads. Lo and behold we finally got them at most trailheads, including Kilburn. Reports are that the state has been happy with the donations so far. So now that the state has a system in place to make money why are they preventing it from happening? The parking lot is not plowed, so people cannot park, donate and enjoy Kilburn. I drove over to the reservoir trailhead on Route 119 (used primarily by ATVs and snowmobiles) and it was plowed beautifully, probably by a snowmobile club. By the way, it has no iron ranger yet. But it got me to wondering. The Trails Bureau is supposedly responsible for plowing Kilburn. I understand the salaries of the bureau are funded partially by off road vehicle registration. Is there a connection, since we who hike, snow shoe or ski don’t register anything, though we pump plenty of money into New Hampshire’s economy?

A couple of years ago the head of the trails bureau said it was his goal to get more ATVs in the park. Are we being punished because we choose not to use a gasoline-powered engine to enjoy the park, but instead prefer the quiet and physical benefit of hiking, shoeing or skiing? I would think the state would be grateful and helpful to us since we now can make donations and have the least impact on the trails, hence less money having to be spent on repairs. On that Sunday there could easily have been 30 vehicles in the parking lot if it had been plowed. Smart business if you ask me.

On a different note I wonder also if the massive logging being done, and to be done, is leading up to more ATVs in the park, as the head of the trails bureau wants. I understand that the new management plan for Pisgah allows for logging of up to 64 percent of the park. Does more logging make it easier to create more trails for ATVs? Sure gets me to wondering.

Jeffrey Scott,

Spofford, N.H., Jan. 3

Not as simple as just looking out the window

Editor of the Reformer:

This is a message to the growing number of you who understand that climate change is a clear and present danger to humanity, as well as other living beings, but are, perhaps, having some difficulty answering the diminishing group of deniers who point to our sub-zero temperatures, abundant ice and snow, and the generally severe winter conditions we’ve experienced this season as evidence that global warming and climate change are a hoax.

First, as scientists have pointed out for some time, cold weather extremes can and will intensify on a warmer planet as the range of volatile weather increases with more energy in the planet. Computer modeling that has shown that cold weather extremes increase with Arctic warming have been validated by the cold weather extremes of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 in the eastern United States and Europe, including Snowmeggedon in our Northeast in 2011.

Secondly, as National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist and two-time lead scientist for the International Panel on Climate Change, Keith Ttrenberth, has stated in response to questions about whether a given weather event was caused by climate change, "All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be."

Whereas the volatility and extremes of weather events use to be the exception in our lives, they have now become the new normal with climate change. Our winters will be no exception.

Tim Stevenson,

Founding Director, Post Oil Solutions, Jan. 7 Prescription troubles with new health care system

Editor of the Reformer:

I, a tax paying citizen of Vermont, signed up in hopes of insurance on the first of January only to find I don’t have insurance even though Vermont Connect says I do. When my local pharmacist tries to get my pills, he says the same thing -- no insurance. I sit hour after hour on hold to talk to them. And the pharmacist, hour after hour to be told to call back, which is very disappointing for me. I usually take 11 pills a month and went the whole month of December without insurance when I sent my premium payment in before Thanksgiving, only to be told they didn’t receive it before Dec. 2, and that I needed to sign up with Vermont Connect. So now, I might collapse from my back, heart, acid reflux or any other issues that may come to me because of a lack of medications. Now I am cut off from them cold turkey, as well as my psych meds. So am I the only one hurting?

Heather Brothers,

Newfane, Jan. 7

The best we can do?

Editor of the Reformer:

Vermont’s new law allowing employees the right to request flexible work schedules without fear of employer retaliation just about made me weep ("New Vermont law allows flex-time requests for employees," Jan. 6). This well-meaning law provides no assurance of anything beyond the employee’s right to ask for schedule changes without fear of punishment by the employer. What is this, the 19th century?

Since 40 percent of Vermont mothers earn the majority of their family’s income, the law’s sponsors hope that it will enable female employees to combine job and family responsibilities. Or at least workers can ask for changes without being fired. Is this the best Vermont can do to support working mothers?

I guess I’ve been weakened by my years living in Quebec where employees are still, in the 21st century, entitled to paid maternity leave, subsidized child care and universal single payer health insurance. Yes, these essential services result in higher taxes, but for 30 years I happily paid those taxes, and my daughter, a working mother of two, continues to do so today in Montreal.

It’s high time for Vermont to dispense with the socialism bugaboo and make laws that truly safeguard working families.

Mimi Morton,

Guilford, Jan. 7