Whitehorse Daily Star

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A BULLDOZER’S DEVASTATION – Shown above is the damage to the trail access to the Hidden Lakes from the Grey Mountain Road. The Department of Energy, Mines and Resources imposed a now-rescinded stop-work order on the City of Whitehorse after it was notified of what had occurred.

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‘What the HELL?’ woman writes of damage

A bulldozer has plowed an access from the Grey Mountain Road down to the Hidden Lakes, along popular hiking and biking trails.

By Chuck Tobin on May 27, 2022

A bulldozer has plowed an access from the Grey Mountain Road down to the Hidden Lakes, along popular hiking and biking trails.

The city says the access is required to drill monitoring wells to look at the relationship between the Hidden Lakes and the groundwater aquifer.

But the work has been stopped for now because of opposition from the public.

The damage has stirred emotions in many regarding what’s being described as an environment mess.

A Riverdale woman expressed her concerns over the environmental damage to the Star this week.

There have also been several posts on Facebook and social media from others who are displeased or outright angry about the amount of damage.

“What the HELL?” wrote one woman.

“It is trails like Rollercoaster that bring people from all over the world to ride in Whitehorse ... Why ruin something that was so pristine? I had so many incredible memories on here.”

“Big equipment and grading on lower Rollercoaster. Not bikeable. Anyone know what is going on?” asked another post.

Shannon Stotyn, the woman who contacted the Star, said Thursday she would like to see an investigation into “the destruction of the trails in the Hidden Lake area.

“Although sanctioned by the City of Whitehorse, I wonder what other options existed for this work, what environmental permits and reviews were completed and if there was any public consultation,” she added.

“I also wonder what protections the area is afforded being part of the Chadburn Lake Park.”

Stotyn noted the area is of high value to all Yukoners. Now, the trails are currently impassible and a mess.

Both the city and the territorial Department of Energy, Mines and Resources (EMR) have been contacted by concerned citizens.

In a Facebook post Thursday, the city said it’s investigating, but noted the work was required to install ground water monitoring wells.

“Clearing and grubbing were identified in the Land Use Permit to accommodate access to the drill site; however, the extent of the impact was more than expected,” says the post.

“Work has stopped, and options to address the situation are being considered. Remediation of the trails will be completed.”

EMR confirmed it was contacted. A natural resource officer inspected the site and is following up with the city.

“The natural resource officer who attended the site reviewed the permit’s terms and conditions and permit application,” Zara Soukoroff, an EMR communications analyst, said in an email to the Star this morning.

“He determined that the work being conducted was in non-compliance with the permit and the Land Use Regulation. It was not expected that anything more than minor grubbing and tree removal would be expected, as it was presented to the regulator in the Land Use Permit application form.” 

The officer issued a stop-work order on Wednesday. That was rescinded on Thursday under the condition that no further construction access to the site was undertaken.

Drilling and the other work proposed under the permit is allowed to proceed.

Compliance Monitoring and Inspections and Land Use will meet next week to discuss the requirements for a reclamation plan which will then be provided to city of Whitehorse.

City engineer Taylor Eshpeter told the Star Thursday the requirement for drilling the test wells was a condition of the city’s new water licence issued last year.

The licence asked for more information, he said, adding there was a requirement to drill test wells at 11 or more different sites.

He said most of the sites were around the city’s sewage lagoons to confirm there is no seepage or contamination coming from the lagoons.

The requirement to drill the monitoring wells at the Hidden Lakes was to better understand the ground water hydrology in the area, he said.

Eshpeter said the wells were also required to better understand if there is any contamination in the area, though he emphasized there is no reason to believe there is.

The trail will be remediated by the city when the project is done, he said.

“We are coming up with a remediation plan and we will be sharing that when we get more details.”

Eshpeter said the city needed to get the drills into the site.

Not all comments posted on social media were negative.

There were a couple that suggested the bulldozed trail presents a new opportunity to improve it.

“To turn a negative into a positive ... let’s come together and build it better,” said one writer.

“There may be an opportunity here to build a fun for all ages and abilities accessible table top flow line. It’s the missing link!”

“Welp, now we may have a valid excuse for making a wide flow trail with berms and rollers,” said another.

Comments (56)

Up 0 Down 0

Art on Jul 10, 2022 at 2:58 am

Why not simply chopper in the drill rig, it’s done all the time…

Up 0 Down 0

Mitch Holder on Jun 6, 2022 at 2:54 pm

@ Woodcutter - You should self-administer Naloxone before trying to address me seriously. As a first responder, I stand by my statement, do you still stand by yours? You know, the one that makes no sense to anyone but a liberal failure. You can stand by in inefficacy without a first aid kit because you judged it was not adequate, I will try to help someone with whatever is at hand. let's see who saves a life.

That is the difference between Conservatism and Liberalism, reality, the person who has the tools and skills to help you vs. the person who does not and projects their inadequacy on those who surround them, to the detriment of all. Someday, when you grow up, you will understand. Hope you don't learn the hard way. Vote responsibly.

Up 0 Down 0

Mitch Holder on Jun 3, 2022 at 4:43 pm

@ Jus' Saying - The Liberals have been doing that categorically for 7 years.

Up 1 Down 4

NeilAlexGeddy on Jun 2, 2022 at 4:25 pm

@Roy
The trail width is related to the size of the drill being used and has nothing to do with access for monitoring. Drill size would depend on local availability of a drill rig, the hole diameter, the length of the hole, and the dip of the hole relative to horizontal. A 12 volt Makita won't do the trick.

Up 6 Down 15

Roy on Jun 2, 2022 at 10:23 am

@John

Sounds like your 20k hike was uphill both ways! I could bushwack to these city well sites in 20 minutes. You could too.
The only way your post makes sense is if you didn’t realize where these well sites in question are.
They are the exact opposite of “dense, remote locations.”

Now that you realize that perhaps (or perhaps not) you’ll understand why an access road didn’t need to be bulldozed over top of a recreation trail - or built at all.
Even the city reports that their work order did not ask for this to happen.

The only people who are saying “quit crying this was necessary” are the citizens who like to think of themselves as hardcore sourdough bushmen - yet spend their days on the internet complaining. Real sourdoughs are actually out in the bush.

Up 12 Down 7

Mitch Holder on Jun 2, 2022 at 9:42 am

@ Roy - well , let us tell you boy, we put the sour in sourdough more than you will ever be able to put the cheek in Cheechako, which is to say nothing of the fact that if you were to live here for 100 years, you will never be anything but. You are the revisionist history, take your lactating complaints back to Ontario before you present liability to the capable, again.

Up 13 Down 0

Brent on Jun 2, 2022 at 1:30 am

Checking for sewage leakage around the lagoons are you? Well that's good. Now check the river water coming from encroached building lines and outhouses at McClintock bay.
Only a fool would schlep a canoe down those hillsides to fish when easy access has always been off of Chadburn Lake road. Those that don't realize this have never fished there.
Whitehorse has had some of if not the best drinking water right out of the tap for 100 years please keep it that way.
I am not against the plowed road now that it's in it could be good access for wild fire management.

Up 13 Down 4

Buzzsaw Jimmy on Jun 1, 2022 at 8:45 pm

@Roy
Isn't it interesting that you post on the Star comment section regularly and then remark "Star commentators think this echo chamber is more representive of the views of the majority than election results are". The Whitehorse Star is one of the last small town community newspapers left. They allow comments from all sides of the political spectrum. Try commenting on CBC, Toronto Star, CTV, Global, etc. on anything related to covid, indigenous issues, trucker convoy, SNC Lavallin, WE charity, mandates, new gun laws, mass graves,...........the list goes on. You can't comment......no comments allowed. However, if were talking melting permafrost, fires, floods, land slides, global warming, the comments are rampant,.........highly moderated of course........we refuse to allow any opposition to the narrative. Just so you know, Andrew Scheer won the popular vote. So did Currie. Cheers.

Up 22 Down 3

joe on Jun 1, 2022 at 12:28 pm

Nice quad trail.

Up 14 Down 18

Roy on Jun 1, 2022 at 10:52 am

@buzzsaw Jimmy

“ Roy....Check the thumb up and thumbs down on your comments. Are you sure there are more of you than me?????????”

Jimmy - Thanks for proving what I always suspected - that Star commenters think this echo chamber is more representative of the views of the majority then election results are.

There’s a reason the left (Libs and ndp) got more votes than the right. In the last two territorial elections and in the last two federal elections. Say what you want about the power sharing arrangement currently in place (it’s definitely fair game for criticism) and say what you want about Silver’s liberal party (I think it sucks) - but none of that changes the fact that more people in the Yukon vote left than right. Fact.

That fact doesn’t care about your feelings. Sorry bout that. That fact also doesn’t care about how many people thumbs down this comment or try to distract from this fact by asking “why are you talking about politics?”

But let’s hear some more “it was better in the past” from the revisionist historians who put the “sour” in sourdough.

Up 28 Down 6

John on Jun 1, 2022 at 9:07 am

I used to walk 20k every month of every year to test 120 monitoring wells. It took about 4 days every month to do this. No ATV. On foot the whole time mainly because the monitoring wells were in dense, remote locations. I don’t begrudge anyone who needs an access road for that purpose. In 2 years after it packs in it will be a good bush road. If some people are so concerned, then pick up a rake and go on out and “pretty it up”. Then go home and stop whining so much.

Up 5 Down 13

Just Sayin' on Jun 1, 2022 at 8:48 am

@YUKONER,

Perhaps we should find something you love and enjoy, destroy it, and see how easy it is for you to get over it.

Up 9 Down 4

Dave on Jun 1, 2022 at 7:04 am

Finally city tax dollars at work.

Up 8 Down 5

NeilAlexGeddy on May 31, 2022 at 4:30 pm

The only thing upsetting to me with this story is that city officials said the plan was to reclaim the cut to promote regrowth. If that is indeed the case, no one will be using that trail for some time because it will have to sit undisturbed for a very long time in order for that to happen.

Up 9 Down 5

Dave on May 31, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Get a life there big woodcutter.

Up 7 Down 31

Roy on May 31, 2022 at 12:01 pm

@Embarassed

Nice list of “Whataboutisms?”

I'm embarrassed for you - embarrassed that there are people out there old enough to operate a computer but not smart enough to realize we can care and be upset about more than one thing.
We can be mad at unnecessary destruction of a recreational trail and also *at the same time* be more upset about gun violence and it’s effects on our society.

Well I can do all that. Maybe you can only hold one thought in your head at a time. Based on the thumbs up your post got seems like lots of star readers also struggle going beyond one thought at a time. That is also embarrassing.

Up 14 Down 8

AdmiralA$$ on May 31, 2022 at 10:47 am

This makes the news... and is worth the sycophantic political jibes? Wow, simply wow. Go outside people the sun is back.

Up 20 Down 10

Woodcutter on May 30, 2022 at 11:51 pm

Roy

While I cross swords with many of the old dogs on here, I can respect their individual contributions that they have made to this community. Back in the day, when whitehorse had 17,000 people things were tougher and it weeded out the weak pretty quickly. Only the resilient survived as most folks couldn't handle life here cause there wasn't much of the things they were used to.

I would imagine the road was developed so year round access could be achieved to actually monitor this monitoring site, so that the now 40,000 people of Whitehorse continue to have safe water. Yup the contractor could have done less, and they will do less for the same money any chance they can.

I would suggest that if you find it so upsetting that we, who survived and thrived, and together built this place with our brains and backs, that you find a more suitable outlet for your feelings of exclusion. Cause son your standing on the shoulders of giants and we know what light weight pip squeeks sound like, cause we've listened to it for decades, however in all cases not from pips as they usually wimped out and jumped on a plane, car hitched or took the grey hound, never to be seen or herd from again.

The good ole days before the internet, when they were gone they stayed gone, now they can linger like a case of hemorrhoids.

Up 7 Down 11

Woodcutter on May 30, 2022 at 11:23 pm

Hey Mitch, if ya spent a few years working the volunteer ambulance circuit you'd definitely understand how obtuse your response is.

There's more to medical aid, then a dork on a quad, trust me or perhaps your sheep dog will cripple you.

Up 15 Down 5

Buzzsaw Jimmy on May 30, 2022 at 10:05 pm

@Roy
" I'm not leaving though, there's more of me than you. Check the election results"
Roy.......Check the thumb up and thumbs down on your comments. Are you sure there are more of you than me?????????

Up 6 Down 10

NoProblem on May 30, 2022 at 9:57 pm

As a biker I understand that people are upset because a trail was changed without notice. I propose it is flattened out and the company doing the work adds a couple of features. The company can even engrave their name and logo into the features. I could do with some more jumps and woodwork on the yukon trails.

Up 12 Down 1

CJ2 on May 30, 2022 at 9:57 pm

@Nathan Living, Is that satire? Or a bona fide display of seizing a dubious opportunity to promote your own special interests? Either way, it's hilarious. ATVers, saving us from stalkers, bears, and other perils of the trail.

Up 4 Down 9

George moss on May 30, 2022 at 9:39 pm

Ahhh woodcutter every time you comment shows your lack of history and short time in this territory.

Up 13 Down 6

Dentist47 on May 30, 2022 at 9:07 pm

Give it a year and will grow back in.

Up 26 Down 12

Mitch Holder on May 30, 2022 at 2:42 pm

The Yukon's children grew up thankful for paths such as these, but then, we didn't have a games Center, Ski Hill, or any of that fancy jazz, just alcoholics and rock fights.

Up 38 Down 13

Embarassed on May 30, 2022 at 1:47 pm

I am embarrased for everyone who actually gives a poop about this mess. That is what it is... a mess. Two or three years ago, I would be shouting to the roof tops complaining, BUT seeing in Yukon, homelessness, addiction, failures of our systems, US mass shooting, COVID stuff, racial divide etc, genocide in Ukraine, a few ruts on the road.....really folks.....

Up 19 Down 37

Roy on May 30, 2022 at 1:14 pm

It’s so great to see keyboard warriors like Mitch and BJ post in their virtue signaling about how “sourdough” they are. Classic Yukon trope that your opinions are only measured by how many years you’ve live in the territory (sorry - living in Alaska or other Canadian territories don’t count - the clock starts when you enter the oh so special Yukon). Such a great purity test! Such a perfect sign of critical thinking by our hardcore Yukon life veterans.

FYI - a local company bid on this work and would have done it without bulldozing this trail into an ugly road.
Yet we have multiple posters in here implying (incorrectly) that this destruction was necessary. Nope. You’re wrong.

No list of books about mining and whataboutisms like “well mining happened in Carcross and Dawson so there!” will change that fact that this job was done by the lowest bidder - and to make that work they destroyed a trail that didn’t need to be destroyed.

You can’t find anyone saying “we don’t need these wells”. So your rationalizations about safe drinking water are besides the point and are just a distraction from the fact you can’t justify this scar being made.
These wells sites didn’t need this road to be made in this manner. Fact.

Sorry that offends your sourdough sensibilities. You wouldn’t let this happen in your backyard but you’ll post up here defending it when it had to do with people riding bikes who don’t meet your definition of a real Yukoner. If a “real Yukoner” doesn’t respect the land and get upset about unnecessary destruction of recreational trails then count me out of your special club. I’m not leaving though. And there’s more of me than you. Check the election results if you need proof.

Up 5 Down 8

Mitch Holder on May 30, 2022 at 12:45 pm

@ WOODCUTTER - I would rather get first aid from someone with a kit, than someone who judges that kit. Wouldn't you?

Up 21 Down 4

Riverdale Resident on May 30, 2022 at 12:21 pm

@JustSayin' - re EMR's enforcement - they responded within minutes of finding out what was going on and shut them down. An officer was on-scene almost within the hour and an investigation is underway. See if you could get bylaw to come that quickly for anything other than an expired meter.

Short of preventing it, that's a pretty effective response thus far.

Up 34 Down 8

Sheepchaser on May 30, 2022 at 10:27 am

@Nathan,

99% of rational people want 0% armed ATV vigilantes running around within city limits.

Up 39 Down 17

Mitch Holder on May 30, 2022 at 9:56 am

I am with Bonanza Joe, too many weak, citified Chechakos up here, you are not strong enough to live here, you obviously don't have the stomach for it, so go home to mama Canerica.

Up 26 Down 6

JustSayin' on May 30, 2022 at 9:16 am

Ugh, do people not understand where these trails originally came from? There would not be there if it wasn't for the wood necessary to get the sternwheelers around.

The purpose was to create drill pads to understand the hydrology of the area. WHY IS THAT A PROBLEM?

Yes, the way COW, YG and SGFN put in their applications into YESAB is a joke. The comments made by the community fall on deaf ears and typically thrown by the way side.

The real outrage should be enforcement by EMR and how terrible they actually are. No sense in issuing a permit if there will not be follow up and/or recourse for not following the stipulations in it.

Up 24 Down 13

Woodcutter on May 30, 2022 at 12:00 am

Nathan sounds like another kook with a gun, trying to be a sheep dog but coming off like a weirdo with a army surplus first aid kit.

Up 11 Down 50

Nathan Living on May 29, 2022 at 1:56 pm

I have to say again that 99 percent of ATV users would have put a citizen halt order in effect if they saw that cat tearing up the land.

We usually carry guns and can take down a problem bear stalking walkers. If a biker falls and injures a leg we carry splints. If someone is lost they can find comfort in hearing the purr of our ATV motors. If a truck gets stuck we have a winch and the know how to get them on the trail again. If a nun or priest is out for a walk and encounters a rainstorm, we have a fire kit and tea and a spare blanket, hat and raincoat.

The problem is that the city does not want us out there helping to preserve the wilderness and helping people. And we are always on call to stop destructive practices like that sinful cat road.

Up 37 Down 4

Bruce Bark on May 29, 2022 at 1:21 pm

@Roy
Perhaps you should read my original post again, slowly this time so you understand what I said. Montana Mountain, copper haul road, Keno Hill, King Soloman dome, actually are the result of mining history, many books have been written about it. If you're interested and would like to enlightened yourself, check out Murray Lundberg "Fractured Veins and Broken Dreams", Montana Mountain and the windy arm stampede. He says mining took place there. On Keno City I recommend "Hills of Silver" by Dr. Aaro E. Aho, he too says mining took place at Keno City. On Dawson, you may want to pick up "The Gold Hustlers" by Lewis Green. He distinctly says mining took place in the Dawson Region. There have also been some excellent books chronicling the mining history of the Whitehorse Copper belt. So your denial that mining took place in the 4 area's I mentioned in my original post is a bit wrong.
I hope I have been helpful clearing up the "rationalization that it was due to mining" ......... it was. Happy reading. The Marsh Lake Ski trails had nothing to do with mining, you are absolutely right. Good old Fred Doehle had a sawmill back there I believe, so they were put in by the forestry industry.
As far as the NIMBY remark hopefully you realize it means "Not In My Back Yard" nothing hateful about that, just like there is nothing hateful about the term LGBTQ.

Up 14 Down 24

woodcutter on May 29, 2022 at 12:50 pm

Hey George

If ya didn't notice, Haines Junction is a hot bed of Conservative voters. The progressive folks can usually be spotted by the book shelves that are larger than their Television Sets.

Then they wonder why there is next to no economy in the Junction?

Up 54 Down 29

George Moss on May 29, 2022 at 10:48 am

This territory was a better place to live before the liberals took over and all the clowns from outside started moving in, if you don’t like it ma’am go to that big huge chunk of land out by Haines Junction called Kluane Park, that’s where nothing happens except pine beetle and government control.

Up 49 Down 11

Woodcutter on May 29, 2022 at 10:05 am

I don't think this is a leftist or right wing issue or response, cause in my experience the reactions are the same from people who have never built anything. They see the first few steps in a project and get into a big tizzy.

I chalk this up to city people behavior. From a woodcutters prospective this is a great road and this progressive voter is sitting here wondering why this has become a matter of political ideologue and how the F@#k did a bunch of bicyclists get to be bigger priority than taking all steps possible to ensure those same city people have safe drinking water?

This road is here to stay cause this is a monitoring site. Good work for the folks performing this very important job, the crybabies on two wheels, which i am certain is not everyone on two wheels, will have to just suck it up.



I

Up 12 Down 35

Roy on May 28, 2022 at 5:59 pm

@Bruce

That's rich coming from a guy who started his original post with "More Nimbys getting their knickers in a knot" - that's a real lesson in civility right there!

And these trails were made 100 years ago as wood collecting roads for the sternwheelers.

But I do love the classic Yukon rationalization of "it was due to mining!" like that's the trump card that gets played to justify the 100% unnecessary destruction of this recreational trail. Your original post clearly suggests it hasn't been destroyed....hence my "either you are saying that to get a reaction or you are saying that without understanding what you are talking about. "

Up 41 Down 9

Bruce Bark on May 28, 2022 at 12:33 pm

@Roy
Hey my friend. I have read a number of your posts of the last few months. My conclusion is that you are someone who leans to the left of the political spectrum. What I thought the left was all about, was to be kind, condemn hate speech, love one another, we're all in this together, etc etc. In one short comment of yours, you managed to accuse me of being ignorant and an idiot. You don't even know me, I don't think. I know a few Roy's in this fine territory, but none of them have ever said that to me. Pick a lane buddy, are you going to be kind, and not hate or are you going to be a bully? The left don't like bully's, neither do I.

Up 38 Down 10

Groucho d'North on May 28, 2022 at 10:29 am

Hmmm, No mention if it was a contractor following project work plans on a tender specification, or if it was a government operator following other directions.
The vegetation will grow back and some local anglers will no longer need to schlep a canoe through that bush and terrain to enjoy some fishing time on the water. This is another example of a public growing angrier with government's and their failures.

Up 17 Down 14

Wilf Carter on May 28, 2022 at 10:22 am

That is so water could run off properly.

Up 47 Down 6

Austin on May 28, 2022 at 9:42 am

Start a firebreak. Great idea.

Up 54 Down 11

Slow News Day on May 28, 2022 at 8:55 am

OMG, it’s exposed soil whatever can we do?

Up 32 Down 8

Hobo on May 28, 2022 at 6:25 am

Give a medal to the lady, an aluminum one.

Up 48 Down 8

iBrian on May 28, 2022 at 6:06 am

Imagine how many of us feel about Whistlebend!!!

Up 50 Down 13

Anonymous on May 27, 2022 at 10:12 pm

How is that ruined? Looks like it will make for a nice trail some day.

Up 16 Down 58

Roy on May 27, 2022 at 7:39 pm

@Bruce

Anyone who thinks that picture shows an appealing trail to travel and recreate on is an idiot.
So what if there are bike tires tracks on it? Just being passable isn’t the point. You either know that and are being a troll to score thumbs up or you don’t know that which means you’re ignorant.

Up 51 Down 13

Rick S on May 27, 2022 at 7:13 pm

In fact, a wide flow trail is exactly what was missing to complete the world class mountain biking experience. Thanks, Mr. Bulldozer!

Up 59 Down 15

Woodcutter on May 27, 2022 at 6:16 pm

OMG what a big noise for a project to ensure the folks have a safe water source. Get over it Soccer Mom, the trees will grow back, the biking crowd can use it after this important work has been completed. I bet someone lost a nights sleep cause they couldn't get on the phone and sound the outrage alarm.

Up 66 Down 26

bonanzajoe on May 27, 2022 at 5:49 pm

For goodness sake greenie leftys, just make a double pass with a grader through there. It will better than it ever was. This is the Yukon, not a down south city suburb. Time for you Cheechakos to take a course in how to become a Yukon Sourdough. What an embarrassment you are.

Up 15 Down 56

Nathan Living on May 27, 2022 at 5:14 pm

This is why ATVs should have unlimited access to the Chadburn Lake city park and all mountain biking trails.
If an ATV operator had seen the damage happening they would have stopped the operator and saved the trail from any further damage.

ATV operators are stewards of all trails, they should officially be given that capacity by city officials.

Up 116 Down 43

Bruce Bark on May 27, 2022 at 4:46 pm

More Nimby's getting their knickers in a knot. All those "world class" biking trails around Montana Mountain, the copper haul road, Marsh Lake ski trails, Dome road bike trails in Dawson, Keno City biking trails, all world class, according to the biking crowd. Guess what......they are all remnants of old drill roads put in by exploration companies in days gone buy. In the modern days of exploration, drills are mostly moved by helicopter, drill pads are built out of timbers on the sides of mountains with minimal impact. All good for sure, but sadly no new world class trails are being built by the private sector to benefit the enviro crowd. So which is it, do you want "world class" biking trails or do you want pristine forest which is impassible on a 2 wheeler. In the above picture I see a cat road.......looking a little closer I see bicycle tracks on top of the cat tracks, looks passable to me???

Up 95 Down 40

TMYK on May 27, 2022 at 4:20 pm

Oh no. The trail is even better now. What ever will we do.

Up 57 Down 29

Mitch on May 27, 2022 at 3:57 pm

And you bloody well dare to deign to command our off road use? This is why you meet so much resistance from the public.

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