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Mount San Gorgonio is now open to family winter recreational use. No legislation nor change of any kind is necessary. The word "ski" does not appear in the several bills now under consideration. The proponents of commercialization are now trying to obtain by subterfuge and deception that which they have been denied by democratic procedures.
The one new contribution that I could add to this discussion is to call your attention to the mountains surrounding Banff, Canada, which I visited last summer. To the northwest is a mountain with denuded scars running down its slopes. They are the ski runs, visible throughout the valley. They do not improve the scenery; they do not benefit the mountains; their only benefit is to downhill skiers.
The Division of Camping of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is just as opposed now as it was a year ago to the commercialization of an area of prime importance to its camping program for young people. They do not want to see the creation of another Lake Tahoe. I again present their resolution, with the change of two words in recognition of the fact that the wilderness bill did pass."
In conclusion: do not forget that Shylock wanted only "a pound of flesh, to be cut off nearest the merchant's heart." Regardless of the addition of fringe areas, the passage of one of these bills would mean the death of the San Gorgonio Wilderness; and, in turn, might well sound the death knell of the entire wilderness system.
I would include the following resolution:
RESOLUTION OF THE DIVISION OF CAMPING OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF Los ANGELES-RE WILDERNESS
RESOLVED: That the Division of Camping of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles record its 100 percent endorsement of the basic policy of preserving such wilderness areas remaining in our country, whose preservation as wilderness is essential to give to future generations the opportunity to see and enjoy their natural heritage.
Further, in view of the enormous population increase which has already taken place in Southern California, and which will continue for some time to come, it is our conviction that it is more imperative than ever that those few wilderness areas within Southern California be maintained and protected.
Be it further resolved, that the Division of Camping of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles supports the general policy of maintaining the San Gorgonio Wild Area in its present status and that it be retained in the Wilderness Area.
The above resolution was approved unanimously by the executive council of the Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles.
Thank you very much.
Mr. BARING. All right, thank you, sir.
The next witness, Mr. Richard Witz.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD WITZ, MONTEREY PARK CITY COUNCIL AND MONTEREY PARK RECREATION AND PARKS COMMISSION
Mr. Wrtz. Honorable members of the committee, I am Richard Witz, primarily representing the Monterey Park City Council and the Monterey Park Recreation and Parks Commission. I am presently and have been a member of the commission for the past 6 years, serving 2 years as its chairman. I am a charter member of the Izaak Walton League of America, San Gabriel Valley Chapter, and the past and
present vice president of this organization. I am presently an active member and a past officer of the Rotary Club of Monterey Park. I am a present member of the Alhambra YMCA. I have owned and operated a retail business at the same location in the city of Monterey Park for the past 18 years.
I know it has been a long day and everybody is tired. I have always given days of my time at the cost of many dollars to present something that I feel is important to the greatness of these United States, as is this. I could do no justice to my belief in as short a period of time as you are now allowing me.
I have six pages of testimony and resolutions and many pictures, from my city and from many other organizations. I would like to be heard when it may be fully digested.
I do not believe the committee is very fair to limit anyone who has put the time and the effort involved in such an important issue as this is and frustrate them with such a limited presentation and limitation as you are allowing here and forcing them to miss many important facts that are important.
Mr. BARING. Mr. Witz, the reason why you are on today is because you stated that you could not attend the session tomorrow.
We have gone over an entire hour tonight, or actually 2 hours, because some could not be here tomorrow.
Now, the same thing goes for the proponents who could not come today, they will be here tomorrow. There happens to be 30 of these witnesses who have testified in the last 2 hours.
Mr. JOHNSON. I would like to say also that we have sat here and we are only 3 members of a 30-man committee and we are out here to hear your statement and whether we hear it or not your statement and your material will be accepted into the record. The material will be accepted for the file and your statement will appear in the record as if read in full, and it will be there for the benefit of the other members of the subcommittee and for the other Members of Congress.
There are only three of us out here to take these hearings. The purpose of taking the hearings is to get a complete record, to get all the information in the file and then the staff will work that over and there will be reports made. It was the same way with people who appeared at the hearings in Las Vegas and presented the statements. They all appeared in the record as if read.
I think your statement is a little bit incorrect.
Mr. Wrtz. I do not think you can accomplish the same thing.
Mr. HOSMER. Well, Mr. Witz, instead of badgering the committee, why do you not give us something about your position-precisely and concisely-that would intrigue us to spend more time reading it?
Mr. WITZ. Well, it is all quite intriguing and at great effort I would like to come back tomorrow, if I may be permitted to have more time in which to present my statement. I would not waste your time or mine by presenting it now, because I could accomplish nothing in a minute or two.
Mr. BARING. If the gentleman can come back tomorrow, we will see that he gets more time.
Thank you, Mr. Witz.
Now, we will hear the next witness, Mr. Cleaver.
STATEMENT OF GORDON CLEAVER, ELECTRICIAN
Mr. CLEAVER. I am an electrician and employed locally.
The San Gorgonio issue, like any great controversy, has arguments on both sides. The following arguments point overwhelmingly in favor of retaining this area in its present status:
1. The complete San Gorgonio Wilderness Area encompasses only 4.3 percent of the San Bernardino National Forest and is the only true wilderness area left in the entire southern California area.
2. Any commercial development would seriously restrict or curtail all of the present uses of the area.
3. Other areas are available for new commercial ski development. 4. The headwaters of the Santa Ana River are in the San Gorgonio area and any commercial development would have a detrimental effect on the entire valley system.
5. Thousands of boys and girls from the 26 youth camps in the immediate vicinity use and depend on this area for much of their outdoor recreation. Any commercialization would rob these youngsters of any invaluable wilderness experience.
6. San Gorgonio is a very unusual area for southern California. It has rare forms of botanical life, century-old trees, unique animals such as the bighorn sheep and is the only arctic alpine zone in the southern part of this State. All these unique features would be damaged or destroyed if the area was commercialized.
7. The proposed ski development would conflict with plans for new campsites and trails which are necessary to meet the increasing usage of the wilderness area. The proposed development would remove the very heart of the wild area.
8. The ski season on San Gorgonio is very unreliable and very definitely not of the caliber claimed by the proponents of this development. When the season is extra long on San Gorgonio, the same holds true for the resorts in the rest of the San Bernardino mountains. Other years the snow is just as unreliable on San Gorgonio as at the rest of the resorts.
9. The proposed development would take public lands and put them into the hands of a private concern so they could make a profit from the use of this land. At present anyone can use this land free of charge.
10. Attempts to install large skiing facilities in this area were denied last year when the wilderness bill was passed by a decisive vote in the House of Representatives.
As stated earlier, this issue has two sides. These are not necessarily always equal or near equal. In the San Gorgonio case they are very unequal. The people who would destroy this lovely area and deny a wilderness experience to our young people have only one reasonable argument and now it is being challenged.
For the foregoing reasons I now urge you to preserve this wilderness in its present status. The San Gorgonio Wilderness Area should remain under the protection that was afforded it under the Wilderness Act of 1964.
Now, I would like to add just one thing:
I know your time is very limited, but there was a person here earlier who claimed to represent labor, labor unions.
I belong to a union, and I know that we have taken no stand at all as to San Gorgonio. This man who appeared earlier does not represent all the laborers or all of the unions.
Mr. HOSMER. That was the bricklayer's union?
Mr. CLEAVER. The electrician's union, sir.
Mr. HOSMER. All right, sir.
Mr. CLEAVER. We have also heard a lot of statements regarding juvenile delinquency and very briefly I would just like to say that I believe that the present use of this area can counter juvenile delinquency just as well as skiing in the area.
I do not want to elaborate any more, because I know your time is limited.
I would remind you that a wilderness area is the type of area you cannot build. We will just simply have to preserve what we have. San Gorgonio is the only good wilderness area left in southern California. I feel that the wilderness enthusiasts and people that do enjoy this type of wilderness should have some area to enjoy. The skiers have their area and, of course, other recreation developers, bowlers, and so forth, all have their areas. I believe they are entitled to them; their areas will be expanded the same as everyone else's, when the demand arises.
However, for those of us who enjoy the wilderness, we know that our area cannot be expanded. We are not asking for money from the Government or putting the burden on the taxpayer. All we are asking is to leave an already overcrowded wilderness area for us and the future generations of southern California to enjoy.
Thank you very much.
Mr. BARING. Thank you, sir.
The next speaker, please.
STATEMENT OF TIRSO G. SERRANO, PRESIDENT, REDLANDS HORTICULTURAL AND IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY
Mr. SERRANO. The Redlands Horticultural and Improvement Society, the oldest garden club in the State of California, with a present membership of 82 persons, would herewith like to go on record as opposed to H.R. 6891 or any similar bill which would change the status of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area.
In September 1965, the Redlands Horticultural and Improvement Society voted unanimously to oppose H.R. 6891, and in effect was reaffirming its long-held belief that the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area must not be opened to commercial enterprises.
The members of our society base their action on the following points:
1. Wilderness areas are natural treasures which cannot be replaced. In areas of high population density, it is particularly important that every effort be made to preserve such areas. The San Gorgonio Wilderness Area is a natural arboretum which cannot be duplicated. The esthetic enrichment it provides for thousands cannot be measured in terms of material assets. No commercial enterprise can serve as substitute for the esthetic value of this area.
2. Once encroachment is permitted in a wilderness area, it ceases to exist in its natural state and no efforts of man can restore it. In
point of fact, there is either a wilderness area, or there is a commercial area. The two are not compatible, for history has demonstrated that the latter precludes the existence of the former. Once a wilderness area boundary is drawn, it must be maintained.
3. The conservation of native flora and fauna in such a wilderness area is the responsibility of today's generations; so that future generations, living in the age of technology and commercialization of more and more aspects of life, may know of nature's unspoiled wonders. 4. Preservation of the watershed is of national importance.
Mr. BARING. Thank you very much.
The Chair wishes to announce that this does complete our panel for this evening.
Congressman Johnson has put a letter in my hands that is dated January 11, 1965, and reads as follows:
Mr. VINCENT X. FLAHERTY,
700 South Hobart Boulevard,
Los Angeles, Calif.
DEAR VINCE: Your plans for the development of a winter sports area on Mt. San Gorgonio are to be commended. I know that you have put a tremendous amount of work and effort into this endeavor, and I sincerely hope that your ideas will come to a successful conclusion.
If there is any way in which you feel I can be of assistance in this matter, please do not hesitate to call upon me.
EDMUND G. BROWN, Governor.
The Chair wishes to announce that we did announce the time for ending the session today as 5 o'clock, and we have gone until 6 o'clock. In view of the fact that this is a very heavy schedule of 230 or more witnesses, we will meet at 9:30 in the morning instead of at 10 o'clock. Please try to get here at that time and we will give more witnesses a chance to speak.
The hearing is now adjourned until 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.
(Whereupon, at 6 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned, to reconvene at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 17, 1965, at the same place.)