SI Vault
March 17, 1969
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March 17, 1969


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Never mind. Go ahead and try it, Germany. It may result in a few third-degree burns, but it's bound to be one hell of a show.


The Northeast corner of the United States is brimming with people: 50 million souls are jammed into an area two-thirds the size of Texas, and along with New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh and Buffalo, there are two dozen other cities with populations of 100,000 and up.

No wonder, then, that the quiet state of Vermont, which has only five towns with more than 10,000 people and whose metropolis, Burlington, had only 35,531 at the last census, is an oasis of peace for frantic Easterners. And no wonder, too, that a Vermonter named W. Douglas Burden of Charlotte (pop. 1,271), sent the following angry letter a couple of weeks ago to the editor of The Burlington Free Press:

Dear Editor,
Man is always inventing some new devilish contraption to take the joy out of life. The latest fiend incarnate is the snow scooter. Why is it that such a large percentage who ride these wailing demons lose all respect for private property? All respect for a man's right to peace and quiet? All compassion for wildlife whose forest homes in the heart of winter had heretofore provided some respite from man—some temporary sanctuary?

Once on the back of a snow scooter, a certain proportion of these people seem to think the whole state of Vermont is theirs. They even have the nerve to roar up to a man's house like a pack of wolves in the middle of the night—only a thousand times worse than any beautiful pack of wolves—and, while a dozen or more motors are idling, they yell and laugh and pass the bottle around. No doubt there are plenty of considerate people who enjoy the use of these contraptions, but their good behavior is more than offset by the rowdies whose abuse of them is raising a statewide storm of indignation and protest.

Since it seems evident that these snow riders are unable to control each other's activities, and since abuse leads to the necessity of regulation, is it not essential to confine snow scooters to certain limited areas where they have prior permission to travel?

It is prophesied that there will be 40,000 scooters in Vermont within three years. If we don't act quickly one of our basic freedoms—the freedom to enjoy peace and quiet in our farm and forest homes—will have been lost.
[Signed] W. Douglas Burden

Move over, Hell's Angels. Here come the Abominable Snowmen.


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