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Letter: Keeping trees on Hwy 34 will prevent whiteout problems later

On numerous occasions, we would have bad weather coming home from Bemidji. We always knew we would be safe when we got to the trees just west of Osage on Highway 34. The open road ditches on Highway 200 east of Itasca Park have no trees, and whiteout conditions were hard to drive in.

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My name is Joe Schattschneider. I'm retired from the National Ski Patrol and used to do coordinated ski and toboggan training at Buena Vista Ski Area in Bemidji, Minn.

On numerous occasions, we would have bad weather coming home from this ski hill. We always knew we would be safe when we got to the trees just west of Osage on Highway 34. The open road ditches on Highway 200 east of Itasca Park have no trees, and whiteout conditions were hard to drive in.

All ski patrol members know that when whiteout conditions (including fog) persist, you need to keep close to the trees – your depth perception is much better next to what you can see – and when it comes to Highway 34, II believe this to be a better much safer (and prettier) solution than letting the sun melt off the roadway.

Better yet, you could drop the speed limit back to 55 mph for safety. Passing zones are already in place for those wanting to drive faster than the posted limit. Opening up the road ditches would create conditions like Highway 10 to Fargo – now you would need road closure gates during storms and a deputy posted at the gate to protect us.

I think common sense should prevail here. Keep the trees!

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Dahlquist has coordinated police science education since arriving at MSUM and, in the process, has taught and mentored a significant number of active-duty law enforcement officers in the Fargo-Moorhead region and many around the nation. He is a former member of the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training.
The trees are just standing there, giving off oxygen, eating toxins and providing beauty. I don't understand why they have to be cut down. I recently took a trip to northern Minnesota, driving on Highway 200 and there are miles of trees embracing the road. Please leave our scenic highway as it is for other generations to enjoy.