Beginning of the Road

By D.C. Sorensen

Published Sometime in Spring 1996

As silent as an eagle skimming a lake to catch an unsuspecting northern, that is how much noise a sail boat makes as it sails upon the water.  I enjoy my sail boat.  Sailing is one of the most civilized recreations invented by man.  It was not always a recreational preoccupation.  Sailing was one of mankindís earliest inventions to expand his reach.  With our economic well being far beyond the technology of sailing, man could have forgotten sailing.  We no longer use stones to hunt with.  However, man has not abandoned the wind because it is one of the intimate ways he has to keep in tune with nature.  To sail you must cooperate with nature.

Another important thing I like about sailing over power boating is that you can have a normal conversation without yelling.  I would not want to depend on sail to cross the Atlantic.  Iíll take a 747 any day.  I enjoy machines.  Man loves his civilization very much, but it is part of manís nature to rebel against his own civilizations every now and then.  This shows civilization who is still the boss.

I find it one of the most uncivilized notions that sailing is an environmentally bad form of boating.  Recreational sailboats have been banned from the BWCAW for many years.  This happened even before the rise of political correctness and before environmental wackos took over forming regulations for the parks. 

Now that the issue of sail boats has been brought up as a discussion point for the BWCAW mediation process, I would like to ask the mediators to reevaluate the use of sailboats.  It is my position that sailboats would cause no pollution in the BWCAW.  Think about it.  Have you ever seen a canoeist at their craft?  They are huffing and puffing as they dig their paddles into the water.  They are so intent on their paddles into the water.  They are so intent on their paddling stroke that there is no time for conversation.  The power canoeist will create tons of carbon dioxide.  This stuff is bad for the earth.  Too much carbon dioxide will cause global warming.

Further, a canoeist physically becomes very foul.  Not even moose smell that bad.  Then there is the problem of all the solid waste these canoeists create.  Do they carry it out with them and properly dispose of it?  No, they are constantly digging little biffies in the woods.  That is a far worse insult on the land than any sled dog doo.  In my sailboat is a Coast Guard approved head.  You landlubbers would call it a bathroom.  That means I can take my human waste with me.  I donít have to urinate over the side like many of these power canoeists do.

Further, I can cook my meals on board without burning up branches and wood.  I can light my boat at night without fossil fuel, because I power my batteries with solar cells.  I can sleep on my sailboat and not disturb the ground in the BWCAW.

My feeling is that we should ban all canoes in the BWCAW.  It should be a sail-only wilderness area.  The superiority of sail is so obvious.  In my 26 foot sailboat I can take up to six people.  There is no way three canoes could be quieter, cleaner, and friendlier to the earth.

Why stop with canoes?  Let us ban dog sledding for it is noisy, smelly and polluting.  In the winter, only ice boats should be allowed.  Only the thin tracks of the ice boat would be visible on the lakes.  Quiet solitude, thanks to the wind, would be year round.  Nature would not be disturbed and people could enjoy unspoiled views in the BWCAW.

Yes, the folks on the mediation board could revolutionize the use of the BWCAW.  They can take a stand that will clean and preserve the environment.  They can use one of manís first inventions to allow visitors to leave no mark that they have passed this way.  Of course, in the process they will alienate themselves to the point where both the CWCS and the other side will call for their collective necks.

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