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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. 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.
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. Sincerely,
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.)
SAN GORGONIO WILDERNESS AREA
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1965
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEN ON PUBLIC LANDS
San Bernardino, Calif. The subcommittee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 9:30 a.m., p.s.t., in the Empire Room, National Orange Show Building, San Bernardino, Calif., Hon. Walter S. Baring (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. BARING. The Subcommittee on Public Lands will come to order.
The first witness this morning is Mr. Richard Witz, city of Monterey Park. STATEMENT OF RICHARD WITZ, MONTEREY PARK CITY COUNCIL
AND MONTEREY PARK RECREATION AND PARKS COMMISSION
Mr. Witz. Mr. Chairman and 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 a 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 present member of the Alhambra YMCA.
I have owned and operated a retail business at the same location in the city of Monerey Park for the past 16 years.
In 1934, I went to Alhambra YMCA Camp Ta-Ta-Pochon as a sickly youngster who felt like dying about twice a week with an asthma attack.
I never became a Mr. Atlas, but compared to the rundown youngster who was only 70 pounds when entering the junior year of high school, there was some marked improvement.
In these mountains, I found life without suffering and was even able to hike without getting sick. The association I had with the out of doors became so inspiring, I began to search for more distant places with new amazing creations of God's nature that man has never been able to match for me.
Before I matured, I had walked to the top of San Gorgonio 13 times by various ways-over the regular marked trails up and down the dangerous face or slide, and over the tops of the many peaks that form a succession of pillars that lead toward the top of the kind of the peaks.
Since the first trip-I made to the top, I had heard warnings about how dangerous it was—how dangerous the slide was and later found out for myself. I discovered it was great fun to go sliding down the patches of snow on our shoes, but being sure to dig in long before the snow ended, or we could be seriously hurt flying out on the rocks at the end of the snow. It is so steep on the face that one can just stand on the sand and rock and he will continue to slide at a good rate of speed.
I remember as a youth being inspired by the beautiful springs above Slushy Meadows that came almost gushing out of the slide of the mountain; and by Slushy Meadows itself with its thousand of springs, many noisy streams, and beautiful foliage and flowers. I don't really ever hope to see a place in my lifetime that can be more beautiful to me than Slushy Meadows.
I was quite elated to bring my two boys here recently and say, “Look, that is a spring, that is where the water begins to flow.” I tried to show them this great phonomena of nature.
I have spent-or, I have seen herds of over 30 deer grazing on the hillside above the meadow. I have slept at Dry Lake when mountain lions were crying at us half of the night.
I have fished tasty trout from ice-cold Dollar Lake and dropped them in the pan while they were still wiggling. I have slept out in the rain for an entire week in a shelter at Dollar Lake made of logs piled up on the side and covered with branches, and a roaring fire to keep dry by.
I have been out on a lake at night quietly looking up with amazement at the many falling stars visible in that black darkness. I have walked through this area by starlight only, and have hiked long distances by moonlight just to crawl in between the rocks at the top of the peak and see either an inspiring sunrise or sunset.
I have hiked here under the best conditions and under the worst. I have walked 10 miles in and 10 miles out, either, without snowshoes or skis when the snow was so deep I fell into it up to my armpits. In the entire 10 miles my companions and I found only one dry spot to camp [indicating on picture].
One of the most self-satisfying things I have ever done was to go into the headwaters of whitewater country on the southeast side of the peak by nothing but someone's verbal directions; and by following the wild burro trails, I saw this whole new, vast, unpolluted, untouched country laid out before me. We fished and ate our fill of rainbow trout and carried the extras to the top of the pass where we packed them in snow and brought them home. Paying for fish at a trout farm has never held much interest for me.
I went back to this part of heaven so many times I lost track. Sometimes I took as many as 25 "Friendly Indians," who are youngsters 10 and under with their packs falling apart and their shoelaces dragging; but, nevertheless, all arriving in and out in very satisfactory condition, probably in better shape than myself.
I have personal knowledge that during the Watts riots in Los Angeles this year, 25 underprivileged children from that area were taken to Camp DeBenneville Pines by Mrs. Will Solomon of TuJunga. These urban children saw for the first time in their lives a primitive area. In addition, I know of hundreds of underprivileged children, and even thousands, who in years past have enjoyed this same experience at the Alhambra Y Camp with the cost being paid by the Kiwanis Club and by a campership program. This is hundreds of children in one camp only of which I have personal knowledge; and, it is my understanding that many of the other numerous camps in that area have similar programs.
There are numerous skiers who use this area now by walking a mile and a half, and if they are dedicated skiers, I am certain they will continue to do so.
The skiers I have seen and met are primarily of a college age or older who can afford good equipment and automobiles and enjoy a lounge or a bar as part of the outing. This type of recreation is available at Mammoth, less than a day's journey from Los Angeles.
The campers I have generally seen are young children between 6 and 16 years of age, many of whom do not have even the boots, sleeping bags, and other necessary camping equipment they really should have.
I was quite amazed last year and this year also when my wife and my sons walked to Slushy Meadows to see so many hikers; some even carrying babies, at every turn in the trail. As usual, also there was a large group—youth groups—at the meadow who had camped overnight by the streams.
Past experience has shown us that as primitive area is relinquished, commercialization puts more and more demands on this continuously shrinking area. Especially can we expect this to happen in southern California with its population explosion and with only this one large and accessible remaining primitive area left. I cannot help thinking how much children will miss by not having these impressionable experiences as part of their growing up.
I want my children to continue to enjoy nature without the benefit of commercialization such as lodge buildings, parking lots, electric lights, and the general litter that occurs from an easily accessible public area.
Of the many ski areas I know of in California, I know of none byor, none of which the development of a skilift and the accompanying commercialization has removed almost every vestige of a wilderness
I dislike hearing expressions relating primarily to the financial gain for the local people because to my way of thinking, we are all losing something that has no price and is not replaceable.
This resolution was passed unanimously by the Monterey Park City Council at its last meeting :
RESOLUTION No. 7035
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MONTERY PARK EXPRESSING ITS
OPPOSITION TO ANY CHANGE IN THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE SAN GORGONIO WILD AREA
The City Council of the City of Monterey Park does resolve:
Whereas, the City Council of this City is concerned about the future of the San Gorgonio Wild Area ; and,
Whereas, it is the feeling of this City Council that the present status of the aforesaid area represents the highest potential use of said area ; and