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Bar State Park should be ideal for “family winter recreation,” the stated purposes of the bills now before you.
Another important consideration is the situation at Mount San Jacinto, lying directly to the south of Mount San Gorgonio and also the subject of great controversy a few years ago. When the aerial tramway was authorized, one of its major purposes was to make some of the high country at Mount San Jacinto accessible for winter sports purposes. In fact, the agency that constructed and now operates the tramway is called the Mount San Jacinto Winter Park Authority. Although, as predicted by some experts, Mount San Jacinto did not prove to be well suited to major winter sports developments, it is well suited in most winter seasons to family winter recreation and general snow play. Because of the existence of the tramway, this area can now be used without the great expense of constructing roads or parking areas. Mount San Jacinto is also a unit of the State park system—one of the finest, and one of the largest in southern California outside of the desert region.
Speaking for the California Department of Parks and Recreation, I urge you to disapprove the bills now before you for that modification of the San Gorgonio Wilderness.
Also, Mr. Chairman, I would like to present a statement on behalf of Mr. Hugo Fisher, administrator of the Resources Agency of California.
Mr. BARING. Very well, you may do so.
FORNIA PUBLIC PARKS AND RECREATION, ON BEHALF OF HUGO
Mr. DOLDER. I appreciate the opportunity to place before you the position of the Resources Agency of the State of California on the proposed bills which would permit the development of facilities for so-called family winter recreation within the San Gorgonio Wilder
It is not necessary for me to review the history of this outstanding piece of wild country, embracing the highest point in southern California. You are already aware, I am sure, that the area was set aside some 34 years ago as the San Gorgonio Primitive Area, later to be reclassified as the San Gorgonio Wild Area under newer Forest Service regulations, and still later to be embraced within the National Wilderness Preservation System, established by act of Congress only last year. You are also aware, I am sure, that insistent pressure for the development of winter sports facilities within the dedicated area resulted in the holding a 2-day hearing in this city by the Forest Service in 1947, on the basis of which the Chief of that agency decided against allowing such winter sports development and against recommending modification of the boundary of the primitive area to accommodate such development. Great pressure was again brought to bear upon Members of the Congress at the time that the wilderness bills were under consideration, seeking to modify the boundaries of the San Gorgonio Wilderness or to secure its exclusion from the national system in order to make possible thin Javelopment of a winter sports
area which would otherwise be excluded under the terms of the legislation under consideration. It was the decision of the Congress that these proposals were not in the public interest; and accordingly the San Gorgonio Wilderness in its present status was established without modification.
The Resources Agency of California does not question the necessity of meeting the increasing demand for additional winter sports facilities, any more than for other types of recreational use. These needs must and will be met, both by private investment and also by several levels of governmental responsibility. But surely it is not necessary to meet this demand by destroying or compromising another very important form of outdoor recreational use, and one that is probably more difficult overall to fulfill. I do most urgently call to your attention the fact that the very pressure of population and of recreational need which are bringing about an increase in the demand for winter sports facilities are also, with equal certainty and in equal proportion, causing an increase in the demand and the need for wilderness types of recreational use.
Any modification of the wilderness, however, is an irreversible procedure; for once the wilderness has been invaded by roads or other facilities for mechanical travel, and developed for the many specialized types of recreational uses which are now so popular, the wilderness itself has departed and the land is then no different from any other recreation area. Surely we must not sacrifice fragile and irreplaceable values in order to meet our recreational needs.
The Resources Agency of California opposes H.R. 6891 and the other bills under your consideration which would modify and reduce the value of the San Gorgonio Wilderness.
Mr. BARING. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Dolder, in your statement, you said this was not a good snow area.
I would say from the records kept that this is one of the best snow fields we have in California, is that not correct?
Mr. DOLDER. I would say its continuous snow record is not among the best in the State.
Mr. JOHNSON. I think you can ski in this area almost the full winter season. They hold races here and I believe the last one was held here in June. They are skiing in this area and there is snow in there. With your State park facilities, you will never have a guaranteed snowfield in your State park, will you?
Mr. DOLDER. I think we have.
Mr. JOHNSON. I think the snow records will bear this out because the snow records kept as far as San Gorgonio is concerned shows that this is one of the most reliable snowfields in California.
Mr. DOLDER. I would say for southern California.
Mr. JOHNSON. No; I would say for the entire State of California. It has more snow than we have in our area.
A longer skiing period is experienced than is experienced in most of the ski areas.
I would just like to keep the record straight on the amount of snow and the availability of snow in this particular area.
This area, the snowfield area here, is from 11,000 to 8,000 feet and it has very good exposure.
I have seen pictures of this that was brought before the committee last time. The records were there and it shows that there is a snowfield here which is almost a guaranteed snowfield. If we have snow any place in California, you have it here. I believe there is snow here more than there is in mountains up in northern California right now, I would say, with only maybe one exception.
Mr. DOLDER. They are skiing already at Squaw Valley, sir.
you had snow here, you would be skiing here tomorrow morning too. It is possible.
Mr. BARING. The Members of Congress have the right to question witnesses. We are operating under the rules of the House of Representatives, this being an official hearing.
So, we cannot demonstrate or let the audience demonstrate. We are trying to take in as many witnesses as we can during the 2-day period and you will all have your chance if you will just bear with us.
Certain points must be brought out and got into the record.
I would appreciate your attention and please do not interrupt the questioning by demonstrating.
Mr. Hosmer, did you have some questions?
Mr. Dolder, do I understand that you are testifying officially for the department of parks and recreation of the State of California ?
Mr. DOLDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. DOLDER. Yes, sir; on behalf of the State government of California and the department of the resources agency.
Mr. HOSMER. Does this also reflect the official position of the State of California in regard to H.R. 6891
Mr. DOLDER. Yes; I believe you have testimony which has been inserted into the record from the agency administrator, Mr. Hugo Fisher.
Mr. HOSMER. The State of California is opposed to this bill?
Our next_witness is Michael R. Fagan, councilman, second ward, city of San Bernardio.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL R. FAGAN, COUNCILMAN OF THE
SECOND WARD, CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO, CALIF. Mr. Fagan. Gentlemen and distinguished guests.
I am honored at having a chance today to appear here to speak on a matter of vast importance for our Greater San Bernardino metropolitan area.
There are many facets of this proposal which one could discuss before this honorable body, and by the size of the speakers list I am sure they will all be adequately covered. Because I am a professional land use planner and a member of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG ve chosen to single out only one
point upon which to address myself; namely, “3,500 acres of family winter recreation * * *."
I believe that a great deal to do has been alluded to the fact that no commercial facilities will be provided within the 3,500-acre family winter recreation facility as proposed.
The absence of such a concrete development plan proposal which takes into consideration joint cooperation between public and private agencies to realistically plan for the eventual expenditure of vast sums to accommodate the rapidly growing segment of our society which enjoys outdoor recreation of all types, is a matter of serious concern to this committee.
The success or failure of public enterprises and initiative to adequately provide recreational facilities for the Los Angeles metropolitan area should be, at least to some extent, based upon a coordinated workable plan which thoroughly and realistically evaluates ultimate capacity and dollar investment. Since this request involves the expenditure of public funds and the withdrawal of land from public domain this prerequisite should be paramount. To that end, I respectfully refer this honorable body to the southern California regional recreational study, completed in 1960.
The absence of a realistic site-plan proposal which provides for joint recreational and commercial facilities is contrary to good planning principles and sound financing practices.
Mr. HOSMER. You feel there is a lot of preliminary work to be done before this legislation should be considered at all, is that correct?
Mr. Fagan. Yes, I do.
sir. Mr. BARING. Thank you very much, Mr. Fagan. Mr. Fagan. Thank you gentlemen. Mr. BARING. Is Mr. Pierson from Los Angeles here? [No response.] Are there more State and county witnesses? [No response.]
Next witness will be Mr. William H. Wilson, attorney, and president of the San Bernardino County Citizens for San Gorgonio.
Please bring your other witnesses with you, Mr. Wilson, the witnesses who will be accompanying you.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM H. WILSON, ATTORNEY AT LAW AND
PRESIDENT OF THE SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY CITIZENS FOR SAN GORGONIO
Mr. Wilson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WILSON. I would like to introduce Mr. Keith Hubbs and Mr. Chet Ely, both of our citizens committee.
May it please the committee, I would like to thank you all for coming here today, especially because you brought the rain. It is the first we have had in 6 months.
If this hearing accomplishes nothing, at least we have accomplished that.
I will introduce myself. I am an attorney here in San Bernardino. Contrary to what some people think, I represent no commercial interests. My interest in this thing is only as a skier and as a resident of
As stated, I am an attorney, being a member of the law firm of Messrs. Wilson, Wilson, and Borror, of San Bernardino, Calif. I was born and raised and educated in San Bernardino, where I have practiced law since 1940. As a member of the Boy Scout troop in my youth, I hiked and camped for three seasons in the area now in controversy.
I am married and have three children, all of whom are skiers. We have been skiing since January in 1962, and would be classified neither as novices nor as experts. We would fall into that great category called intermediate skiers. We ski for recreation only.
Like those who oppose this legislation, I, too, am interested in youth and young people. For 10 years (1950–60) I was a member of the board of directors of the San Bernardino YMCA, and for 4 of those years (1952–56) I was president of the YMCA of San Bernardino. More recently, in 1963 and 1964, I was the committee chairman of Troop 5, Boy Scouts of America, at San Bernardino. In that capacity, I accompanied the boys of our troop on a camping trip into the Slushy Meadow area in the summer of 1963.
I would like to emphasize that I have not been retained by, nor have I any relationship, directly or indirectly, with any organization or group seeking commercial development of this area. My interest in this legislation stems solely from my interest as (a) a skier and (b) as a resident of San Bernardino.
Now, something about our organization.
Following the introduction of Congressman Dyal's bill proposing to provide family winter recreational uses on Mount San Gorgonio, I, together with others holding similar views, were instrumental in organizing San Bernardino County Citizens for San Gorgonio. Our objective is to provide support for legislation permitting skiing on Mount San Gorgonio, but at the same time insure that safeguards will be included in the legislation to preserve existing wilderness values. We are all residents of San Bernardino County. Much of our water comes from the watershed in this area. As a result, we want to see nothing done which will in any way jeopardize our existing water resources.
I am interested in the watershed as Mr. Break is. I would point out to this committee that the famous Mammoth Mountain and June Lake Ski areas are located in the headwaters of the Owens River Valley and apparently they find no contamination problem there. Similarly, many of us have in the past made use of this area for purposes of hiking and camping. We recognize that in the future many of our children will be attending the numerous youth camps in the Barton Flats area. When they do, they, too, will use the area for hiking and camping purposes. As one member of our committee expressed it, “I am a member of this committee to see to it that although we have skiing on Mount San Gorgonio, the access road does not run through Slushy Meade In other words, the objectives of the