Oh look, everyone hates me. (Click on "comments.") La la, that's okay, because I hate everyone, too.
I'm not going to bother to respond over there, since I really don't need to waste my energy on internet squabbling. When I e-mailed the City Council I was aware that my message could be forwarded to local media, but I was not anticipating it being posted on the newspaper's gossip blog, and I resent being thrown to the wolves like that. Besides, I think they've all already made up their mind that I am an evil liberal hellbent on destroying the American way of life (and proud of it!) so it's not like anything I could say would change their minds about me or the proposed Alpine Coaster at Spirit Mountain.
But I will say this: This is how habitat destruction happens. It's not all big land grabs, it's not selling Gooseberry Falls and building Mall of America #2 in its place, it is an incremental series of losses. It is a vacant corner paved over for a parking lot, it is scrub and weeds razed for condos, it is a few trees cut down and the noise, pollution and disruptive human activity of a roller coaster in the forest.
I never claimed that there were any rare birds nesting near the area proposed for the Alpine Coaster, but I can guarantee that there are some birds nesting there, and many more who depend on the area as a food source, and there will be a lot fewer if the Alpine Coaster is built. Other wildlife like squirrels or voles or shrews or porcupines will be displaced. Trees will be cut down, wildflowers and ferns will be trampled, insect and microorganism life will be disrupted. And, yes, I am enough of a bleeding heart liberal animal rights wacko that I believe that thousands of creatures' right to existence trumps a few human beings' desire to be entertained for 30 seconds. If they were cutting down some trees to build, say, low income housing, or a women's shelter, or a corner grocery store, or a solar panel manufacturing plant, I don't think I would complain as much.
The environmental impact of the stupid Alpine Coaster monstrosity is probably fairly small, in the grand scheme of things, but these losses add up. Wildlife habitat and quiet places are a very, very finite resource, and I don't think they should be wasted on something this inane.
ETA, 10-14-09: Related links, some more background (and a rant) on the Alpine Coaster, and a semi-related discussion on PDD about whether or not Duluth is anti-growth.