Poor Gordon Howie. No, really, I mean this: I sympathize with Gordon Howie, who is seeing property he co-owns torn up by thoughtless motorists:

A few Rapid Valley residents are frustrated that freewheeling drivers turned the area near their neighborhood pond into a rutted mess this weekend.

Turtle Pond property manager and part owner Gordon Howie shares the neighbors' irritations but says the destruction is not a new problem for the undeveloped park, especially after a rainstorm.

"It's disappointing, but not a surprise," said Howie, a former state senator. "We've tried to put obstacles in the way, huge rocks and other obstacles to keep people off. The people who are intent on being destructive just find a way around them."

Although privately owned, the Turtle Pond area, at the corner of Long View Drive and Reservoir Road, north of S.D. Highway 44, is open for public fishing. South Dakota Game Fish & Parks has stocked the pond with fish in the past, Howie said.

Neighbor Pat Cromwell said she called the Pennington County Sheriff's Office four times over the weekend to report mud-bogging ATVs and pickups.

"They are ripping the daylights out of the pond here," Cromwell said. "People are having fun without thinking about what they are doing to it. It's mindless vandalism" [Holly Meyer, "Mud Boggers Making a Mess of Rapid Valley Pond," Rapid City Journal, 2012.04.16].

Attentive readers will recall that I'll have no truck with motorheads who can't have fun and tread lightly. Sportsmen (and I suspect we have to use the term loosely here) have an obligation to respect the land, whether that land is owned by all of us or by a few private landholders who generously allow public use of their property.

But note that even arch-Tea Partier Gordon Howie has to admit that sometimes he needs more government. It takes a strong man to admit that his philosophy is incomplete.