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To have a wilderness area like this so near is truly a blessing for the local Boy Scouts of America. To have its heart cut out for any purpose would be a tragedy for all.
For those who want to ski its slopes, let them ski it and see it as God meant it to be seen. Let them know the real satisfaction of climbing the slopes, sitting down to rest on the ridge before whisking down to the bottom.
I am the adviser for the Explorer Post, a member of the Sierra Club (whose feelings I am sure are well known) and an accountant who looks forward to the weekends of escape in the wilderness.
Anyone with a conscience can't let this happen * * * not only to those of us here now, but in the future as well. Once the ski lifts are there, it's too late! Very truly yours,
ROBERT O. WILLIAMS, Adviser.
EXPLORER Post 397, Statements from organizations and individuals connected with camps near San Gorgonio Wilderness Area concerning why they are opposed to H.R. 6891 and the other identical bills
Response to 1965 survey of camps sent out by Miss Gertrude Hagum
(None of the camps are supporting H.R. 6891) Camp Norris No. 1, Boys Club of Pasadena, by Howard Amend, camping director, Pasadena, Calif.:
"Wilderness area in the present state has such a high use, and extreme need of the youth and for the youth of the congested urban area of which it is surrounded. It is the last remaining high altitude wilderness area in southern California.
"I feel wilderness is an absolute necessity for a complete and rounded camping program."
Camp C. R. Allen No. 4, First Presbyterian Church of Fullerton, by O. P. Meissner, camp chairman, Fullerton, Calif. :
"All members and committeemen of Troop 91 are very much against the withdrawal of this acreage from the wilderness area. This troop has used the area for the past 45 years to show boys how to take care of themselves when off the beaten path. The area in question is the very heart of the only good camping spots left not only for scouts but thousands of others.
“We feel that there are a great many ski areas that could take care of all skiers if used properly, instead of taking the last of the wilderness areas away from those who love camping in the great outdoors.”
Camp Evangel No. 9, Camp Evangel, Azusa : "The executive board, which includes representatives from various church groups, is opposed to ski lifts or any other commercial development of the area." (Telephone call from J. Birch, chairman.)
Camp Nawakwa No. 9, Camp Fire Girls, Mt. San Antonio Council, by Donna L. Brady, director of camping, Pomona :
"Our board of directors, representing more than 7,000 members of this character building organization, has gone on record in opposition to the ski lift. The board voted to oppose the lift on behalf of our council on November 9, 1965.
“We oppose withdrawal of the wilderness acreage for a ski lift because we feel it is more valuable in its present state. Perhaps the commercial value is less, but the intangible value to our people now, and in years to come, is immeasurable.
"The San Gorgonio Wilderness Area is the only example of south California mountains in their original state even reasonably accessible to southern California people.
"Our youth, especially, deserve our help in preventing the loss of this "untouched' wilderness. Once marred, changed from its natural state, for any reason or purpose, it cannot be reclaimed. The damage is irrevocable. Land, for any use, is at a premium. People continue to pour into southern California and an ever-increasing population worsens the problem. Automation, freeways, skyscrapers, are all part of this wonderful world of chaos and concrete. We need these to survive. But, we also need someplace to go where all of these are absent * * where people can enjoy the natural beauty which man, for all of his creative ability, cannot reproduce. We need a place
to wander, to wonder, to ponder things past and things to come, to reflect, to gain or regain our perspective. We want our children to see this wilder. ness, to have this small bit of land unchanged. For even now, it is only a sample of a natural environment—a specimen, preserved like rare birds and animals that threaten to become extinct.
“Many of our Camp Fire Girls and their families visit this area each year. They are always impressed, sometimes overwhelmed for they are exploring with all their senses, what seems to be a different world, without buildings, autos, without those things that relegate it to this fast-moving (and sometimes) unfeeling century.
"We do not object to skiing-many of us enjoy it. We agree with those who say the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area would be a great place for it. But it is not the only place. Its preservation as a wilderness area does not totally prevent people from skiing in this area. But its use for (lift) skiing would prevent future generations from enjoying it as we have, in its natural state."
Camp Tautona No. 11, Girl Scouts by Nancy E. Vaughn, program camping specialist, San Bernardino, Calif. : “Agencies such as ours who have camps in the Barton Flats area hate to see the wilderness commercialized. We who use our camps summer and winter like to have a place for our campers that is untouched by the pressures of commercial interests.”
Camp De Benneville Pines No. 17, Unitarian by A. J. Horn, president, board of directors, Arcadia : “We are opposed to the withdrawal of the proposed section of the wilderness area, primarily because this will lead to a commer. cialization of a prime recreational area. Further, it would set a precedent which could produce similar results in other wilderness areas. It is important that we preserve these natural areas for present and future generations."
University Camps No. 18, University Religious Conference by Chris Zuber, executive assistant, Los Angeles :
“We owe it to present and future generations of children to have the opportunity to get into the wilderness area as part of their heritage, and because communion with nature is one of man's best opportunities for increasing his spiritual awareness and sensitivity.
“We're faced with an irrevocable decision to eliminate one of the last remaining natural resources for this purpose.”
Camp Edwards No. 21 by B. Roy Coble, general secretary, YMCA, Redlands:
“The YMCA's board of directors joined with our camp committee in opposing any commercial interest from developing in any portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. This has been an unanimous vote on two different occasions.
"Our Camp Edwards is located right by this area : Our campers hike all over this area and hold their overnight camps there too. Any commercial development would stop this and if the liquor interest were to get in, it would ruin this area for youngsters.
“We have 4,760 members in the Y. Of course, we cannot speak for all of them, but we can speak for the majority of the parents and young men who agree with us.
“The purpose of the YMCA is building and developing Christian character.
“We are opposed to any commercial facilities or development in the San Gorgonio area. When any commercial activities begin the wilderness area is through forever.
“Consideration should be given to the thousands of youngsters that use this area now, and for our future generations that can use and enjoy this area as it is now."
Camp Ta Ta Pochon No. 25, Alhambra District, YMCA by John T. Mott, camp executive, Alhambra :
"I do not favor ski lift installations and opening the wilderness area.
"1. Campers enjoy the natural looks of the area. The natural beauty would be changed with lifts, roads, parking lots, necessary shelters, and buildings, skinned areas.
"2. Ski lifts and tows will be installed at Heart Bar and Fish Creek to furnish skiing facilities enough.
"3. U.S. Forest Service administrative costs are high enough now. This would add to expenses too much.
“4. More public campgrounds are needed for family trailer camping. If money is going to be used, it needs to be used to expand these facilities."
Camp Cedar Canyon No. 28, San Gabriel Valley Council, Boy Scouts of America by R. W. Sundquist, director of camping, Pasadena:
"As an organization with 20,000 boys registered in our council who need just such an area as the wilderness area is, we are opposed.
"As you may know, one of the areas of training that we desire to give our youth is the respect for the out of doors and its beauty and the ability to take care of themselves out of doors.
"We do have an advance hiking program set up in this area. It is called our Five Peaks Hike. You will note on the front of this form that over 300 young men and adults spend the night on 1 of the 5 peaks in the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area.
“This area being one of the last large wild areas, we are against opening it up to the destruction of heavy civilized traffic that the ski lift would bring."
November 14, 1965. To Whom It May Concern:
In a letter to the editors in the Redlands Daily Facts a few nights ago, the sporting goods store proprietor, J. Overton Pratt, Jr., defended the opening of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area to commercial ski interests.
Skiing is one of the most opular sports in the United States today; it is healthful and invigorating, and certainly should be encouraged. But has it ever occurred to those advocating opening the wilderness area, that San Gorgonio can be utilized for skiing without ski lifts and their accompaniment of traffic jams, slushy, dirty snow, long waits for tows, noise, and abandoned paper plates ?
Overton Pratt should know. Twenty-five years ago I skied in the wilderness area with him and a group of young people every weekend. Sure, we went up the slopes the hard way, and if we wanted a cup of coffee we carried it with us. But the memory is unforgettable-deep peace and beauty, unmarked expanses of purest white and a vast silence when we stopped for a breather, unbroken except for the wind in the pines, the tinkle of a tiny stream under its icy crust and the plop of snow falling off a limb. Even earlier, as a child in camp in Bear Valley, I came to know the wilderness
We hiked from Bear Valley down the trail to the Santa Ana, and camped there for the night. The next day, we made the great assault on Grayback, until after puffing and groaning over the last interminable ridges, we gained the top, and triumph! Again, an unforgettable experience to realize that so close to the great metropolitan centers lay such a huge area of primeval beauty, where in any direction one could see only the works of nature, and none of those of man.
One part of this treasure is gone, it is gone forever: and once any part of it is given away, more will be asked. We hold this heritage in trust, not only for our own children and grandchildren, but for all the children of the future, whose need for such a refuge of the spirit will be even greater than ours. Yours truly,
BARBARA M. DOYLE
REDLANDS, CALIF. To Whom It May Concern:
There is only one real issue in the San Gorgonio controversy and that is conservation. The preservation of the few unspoiled areas left in our country is of major concern to the skier, as well as the hiker, and the ranks of conseryationists abound with them. This is a national, not a local problem. The Wilderness Act was passed by Congress for the benefit of the entire country, for future generations as well as the present. San Gorgonio belongs not only to those of us who reside at its base, but to the populace-north, south, east, or west; city dweller, farmer, intellectual, laborer, the articulate and the mute, the wealthy and the indigent.
The wilderness areas of the county are living museums to be passed on to our children. Unlike prehistoric skeletons, artifacts, or antiques, they cannot be enclosed in glass cages and guarded by uniformed sentries. They must be left entirely in their original state and we, the people, must be their guardians.
In our urbanized, mechanized society, the emotional impact upon the individual when entering the Wilderness Areas cannot be computed or classified. Only the poets among us dare to write about such deep inner feelings, such intangibles, without fear of being labeled “sentimental" or "corny." Yet most of us have experienced these moments of being one with the universe, of this minute being worthwhile and compensating us for the burdens men must carry.
Some of us experience a similar emotion upon entering the hallowed loftiness of a great cathedral; some feel this way when listening to the swells of a classical concert; others when watching the waves thunder and crash upon a beach, an infant's first smile, or the flag parading by *** These are the things that endure, that balance the times of strife or frustration.
We must preserve our Wilderness Areas so that others may wander about them and experience this unity with days past and future, and marvel at the continuity of nature in its unaltered state.
Mrs. ELLEN R. BAUM.
VII. GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS SUPPORTING H.R. 6891 IN SOME WAY
A. San Bernardino County Citizens for San Gorgonio 1. History; aims and purposes.—This group was started in June 1965. It consists of county residents who favor H.R. 6891 with certain amendments.
Statement of objectives of San Bernardino County Citizens for San Gorgonio (adopted June 23, 1965) :
“San Bernardino County Citizens for San Gorgonio endorse legislation to open a small portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area for family winter recreational uses, including lift skiing, in a manner compatible with preservation of present values and uses of the area. We recommend that legislation for that purpose include the following:
"1. The area is to be limited to 3,500 acres of the 35,000 acres in the wilderness area and to be above the 9,000-foot level in what is called the San Gorgonio Bowl area which is north of Mount San Gorganio and Jepson Peak and east of Charlton Peak;
"2. Any access road shall be east of the South Fork of the Santa Ana River and shall not be visible from nor pass through the areas now principally used for hiking and camping in the South Fork (Slushy) Meadow;
"3. No public overnight accommodations permitted ;
“6. That operator of the lift facilities contribute a reasonable portion of gross receipts to a trust fund to be administered jointly by the U.S. Forest Service district ranger and the executive board of the Sierra Club for the improvement and extension of camping, hiking, and outdoor facilities gen
erally in the San Bernardino National Forest." 2. Officers.
President: William H. Wilson, attorney, San Bernardino.
Treasurer: Dr. Neal Bowen, dentist, San Bernardino. 3. Members include.—Overton Pratt, sporting goods dealer, Redlands; Frank Blackford, Yucaipa ; Larry Myers, Barstow; C. W. Baker, realtor, Big Bear; Kenneth Bates, realtor, Big Bear; Howard Clinton, Big Bear (Clinton's Bear City Market is the only Clinton listed in telephone directory at Big Bear, but I have not had time to check to see if this is the same person); Buzz Smith, Colton; Al Austin, realtor, San Bernardino; Sidney Engleman, San Bernardino ; Dr. Loren Miller, optometrist, San Bernardino ; Rex Hornibrook, realtor, Boy Scout leader, church worker, San Bernardino ; Keith Hubbs, Colton or San Bernardino; Joe Katz, attorney, San Bernardino; Gordon Fields, builder, San Bernardino; Jack Widmeyer, insurance, San Bernardino ; Clyde R. Tatum, president of Victorville Chamber of Commerce, associated with Boy Scouts for 25 years, member of San Bernardino County Industrial Commission, Victorville ; Rupert Tatum (I believe he is a builder), Victorville; William A. Porter, Victorville; L. Sidney Powell, Victorville; Chandler North, horticulturist, University of California, Riverside ; D. H. Sullivan, radio station, Apple Valley Inn, Apple Valley, Scout leader, skier.
4. Organizations responding to questionnaire.
Colton Chamber of Commerce: "Favor ski area because (1) of the added business and (2) it would enable thousands to participate who have no suitable place now. In other words, it would subordinate even Sun Valley."
Victorville Chamber of Commerce: "Would be a great boon to our economy of southern California. We consider this a much-needed recreational project. Dr. Carl W. Sharsmith, professor of botany, San Jose State College, San Jose, Calif.
Would provide recreation for so many as against the few now able to utilize the area.'
Yucca Valley Realty Board, Yucca Valley, Calif. : Supports H.R. 6891, “For the future growth of the desert”-according to J. C. Perry, realtor, board member.
5. Groups which I have heard are supporting H.R. 6891.-Far West Ski Association, U.S. Ski Association, Lucerne Valley Chamber of Commerce, Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce, San Bernardino Realty Board, Argonauts, San Bernardino Junior Chamber of Commerce, Victorville Junior Chamber of Commerce (support is only on the condition that access road should be closed in summer).
VIII. HOW WOULD A SKI LIFT RESORT AFFECT THE AREA'S WILDERNESS VALUES AND
PRESENT USES ?
It could be used by skiers in winter and still retain all the wilderness values and uses for summer, ski lift proponents contend.
A ski lift resort would seriously harm the area's wilderness values and uses, declare the defenders of wilderness preservation.
Who is right? The skiers or the conservationists? Which group has a better understanding of wilderness values and uses?
Let's ask the experts.
The youth camp leaders oppose H.R. 6891 because they believe that commercialization of any part of the present wilderness area will be a serious detriment to present youth uses of the entire area. B. Harmful effects on use as a “living museum"
Very distinguished biologists, botanists and other scientists oppose H.R. 6891 because they believe it will be detrimental to the entire area. These men include
Dr. Harlan Lewis, professor of botany and dean, division of life sciences, University of California (statement in app. VI 3 O p. 266).
Dr. Gerald Scherba, professor of biology, chairman, natural sciences division, California State College at San Bernardino.
Dr. F. W. Went, distinguished professor of botany at the Desert Research Institute of the University of Nevada (statement in app. VI 3 j p. 266): "The San Gorgonio Wilderness Area is of very great importance for a study of the origin of the mountain flora in the West, since it is the highest peak in southwest North America. In connection with a study of the alpine flora in Nevada, which I have started (publication : F. W. Went, “Growing Conditions of Alpine Plants,” in Israel Journal of Botany 13:82, 1965), I must be able to study the undisturbed flora of San Gorgonio as well (which I have visited several times in the past).
Dr. John D. Goodman, professor of biology, University of Redlands.
Dr. Verne Grant, geneticist at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont, and professor of botany, Claremont Graduate School.
Dr. Walter P. Taylor, former president of the American Society of Mam
mologist, now at Claremont Graduate School. C. Harmful effects on use by hikers
Boy Scout and other youth leaders and Sierra Club oppose H.R. 6891 because they believe it will be detrimental to use by hikers.
1. The trail through Dry Lake is a main trail of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. It is the Whitewater River Trail (1E5) which starts at Poopout Hill, continues through Slushy Meadows to Dry Lake, then branches to Lodgepole Springs (primitive campsite) and goes ahead to North Fork Meadows (primitive campsite).
Allison White, Boy Scout leader and founder of the 9 Peaks Honor Award in which 60 Boy Scouts climbed 9 peaks in a 3-day, 30-mile hike within the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area last summer, said that he took his troop along the Dry Lake trail to the fine primitive campsite at North Fork Meadows last summer. He is vigorously opposed to H.R. 6891. D. Harmful effects on primitive camping use
Mountaineering Explorer Post No. 397 uses Dry Lake as a winter mountaineering campsite. It is called an excellent winter mountaineering site in Grayback Council Boy Scouts Campsite and Trail Guide.