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STATEMENT OF MRS. SYDELL BRAVERMAN, REPRESENTING 41 CHURCHES AND FELLOWSHIPS, PACIFIC SOUTHWEST DISTRICT
Mrs. BRAVERMAN. As an elected member of the board of directors of one of these organizations, I have been asked to represent the 41 churches and fellowships in the Pacific Southwest district.
Because the various reasons for the opposition to the legislation on the part of the individual members of our churches and fellowships, my testimony is no different from that which you have heard. I will skip that point. I will go to a specific point that our board is most concerned about that has not been heretofore discussed today.
My point is the increased traffic that it would bring to Highway 38, which is the access road to the camps in the Barton Flats area. Like many of the other camps, we are on Forest Service land.
To maintain our lease, we have to be open 180 days a year. Twelve summer weeks obviously do not meet this requirement. Therefore, most of the time we are always open all winter weekends and frequently during the week. With no overnight facilities for the people who go into the proposed ski lift area, we are very concerned about the additional traffic this would bring to Highway 38 and the possibility that, when snow conditions become too difficult for the maintenance crews to handle on a winter weekend, the increased traffic might bring a stoppage of flow and thus bring about an impossibility on the part of the camps to maintain their facilities and keep open the number of days they have to keep open in order to retain their leaseholds.
Thank you very much, gentlemen.
I know that I promised two or three yesterday during the closing hours when we were going along quite fast that I would take their testimony today, and I think I have contacted them already.
Is there anyone here now who I promised would be allowed to speak here today who could not be heard last night; that is, on the opponents' side ?
Mr. MULVANEY. I am still on your list waiting to be heard.
Mr. BARING. Well, I notice a lot of people standing up, and obviously we cannot take them all. Let us have some order.
We have promised the other side some time today and we are doing our very best and we have talked with your leaders and have taken the leading statements.
Mr. MARSHALL. Well, Mr. Chairman, there is an inevitable problem. I have been trying to serve as more or less a coordinator of this testimony.
Our analysis of the original witness list indicated that at least 140 of the witnesses who had qualified would be testifying in opposition.
There would be something in the order of 70 such witnesses reinaining at this point, depending on how many have given up and
We understand the procedures of fairness which this committee has adopted and we do not wish to challenge them; we very much appreciate it.
But, it would be, I think, beneficial for the feelings and the effort that these people have put in if their statements would be submitted for the record as if read into the record, without taking the time of the committee.
Mr. BARING. Well, that request will be granted.
All of the statements which have not been presented here formally may be presented to the court reporter and they will be inserted in the record as if read and made a part of that record.
Mr. MARSHALL. I think this is about as equitable a decision as we could ask for, sir.
Mr. BARING. Now, we strike that.
Mr. BARING. Yes, please come forward to the microphone and give your name.
Mr. KELLER. My name is Edgar C. Keller and I merely wondered as a point of information whether or not any other opponent will be heard today?
Mr. BARING. We have finished the time of the opponents; actually, we went over the time.
Mr. KELLER. I had understood that it was probable that opponents would be heard until past 3:30 or 4:30.
Mr. BARING. You will remember last night we went until 6 o'clock so the opponents got an extra hour at that time.
Mr. KELLER. Yes, I remember that.
Mr. KELLER. Well, I am merely inquiring because many people here do not understand whether they are to speak now or whether the time for the opponents has been completed.
Mr. BARING. The time for the opponents has been completed at this time.
Mr. KELLER. Thank you, sir. .
Mr. BARING. Now, please be seated as quickly as possible or we will not be able to finish these hearings.
Now, please turn all your statements in to the reporter to be incorporated into the record as read at the end of the hearing.
All those statements will be included as if read.
STATEMENT OF GENE HALLSTRAND, REAL ESTATE BROKER AND
FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SAN GORGONIO SKI LIFTS
Mr. HALLSTRAND. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, counsel, and staff, my name is Gene Hallstrand, a real estate broker, and former executive secertary of San Gorgonió Ski Lifts. I believe my sharing with you gentlemen the highlights of my own experiences during an exciting 14 months in which I was deeply involved in the San Gorgonio controversy will shed some helpful light on an extremely “clouded” issue. Perhaps a few words are in order on my own background prior to taking over the full-time "missionary task that informing San Bernardino County and greater southern California residents of the spiritual and moral enrichment available in the proper development of the upper, north-facing slopes of San Gorgonio has been.
As a lifelong conservationist, I can say that hiking, camping, and skiing have always been my outdoor forte and as hikers and backpackers, my wife and I have on numerous occasions climbed Mount San Gorgonio. We were dead set against any encroachment of this
And then, one day, Morgan Adams, Jr., a longtime friend of mine, asked me why I felt so inclined. My reply consisted of the usual fear talk of bars, a potential Disneyland, a recreation honkytonk, a “winter snow a-go-go," with stretch pants doing watusis and the frozen jerk, and so forth. But in answer, Mr. Adams invited me to inspect for myself plans his group had only recently forwarded the USFSplans obviously carefully cognizant of wilderness values.
Instantly, I realized from my own experience as a ski instructor at Sun Valley, Idaho, my former residence in Colorado where I was familiar with the major ski centers including world famous Aspen, and several European visits where ski trails, ski lifts, and hiking trails often criss-cross the same mountain with no damage one to the other, that here indeed was one answer to many suffering southern Californians enveloped in a population explosion where there exists a critical need for wholesome outdoor recreation.
Immediately, I recognized that the taxing challenge that hiking in the summer, or for that matter, ski-touring in the winter held for uswe hardly ever saw another person on the mountain—was indeed a selfish pursuit if we failed to consider other potential users of this beautiful mountain. Where we had been able to enjoy San Gorgonio, the great mass of people are not capable of so strenuous an activity.
Thus, when asked by the FWSA to testify at these hearings, I welcomed the opportunity to reiterate my belief in the true, multiple use of public land under Forest Service supervision.
The Apostle Paul, a man familiar with controversy, wrote the Corinthian Christians: "Don't think only of yourselves—try to think of the other fellow and what is best for him (I Cor. 10:24). This unselfish reasoning has, by and large, been followed by the Forest Service and I wish to include for the record an article which appeared in the July 28, 1964, issue of the Redlands Daily Facts written by me documenting the consistent Forest Service efforts to reason with the known opposition, ofttimes referred to as the “unpaid arm of the Forest Service." Please refer to exhibit A.
And I believe a careful reading of the Forest Service's excellently prepared brochure, PA-525 (revised September 1963) will give us a basic insight to Forest Service thinking on the winter recreationist. In it, we find on page 9 skiers "estimated as 5 million and increasing, and the additional fact that "the Service is constantly on the lookout for sites where new skiing facilities could be developed.”
Why then were the Members of Congress propagandized by a hastily drawn up document in which this usually reliable Service, in May 1964, recommended against the opening of San Gorgonio? (The later, well conceived report of the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee clearly indicated that opening a portion of San Gorgonio would "provide recreation possibilities for everyone.”)
The answer to this question and the reason for the existence of a continuing smoke screen of controversy is simply the pressure brought to bear by a well-organized campaign launched against this ski area by the Sierra Club. In this connection I should like to include for the record a copy of my speech before the San Bernardino Lions Club on August 27, 1964, which highlights the extensive effort made by this powerful organization to the detriment of the people of southern California. Please refer to exhibit B.
When I personally accepted the challenge of doing battle with this fanatical group, I spent time researching this issue from 1931 to date, making extensive use of the Forest Service files in San Bernardino, and Sierra Club bulletins, especially those written prior to the 1947 hearings. I felt the necessity of discovering the basic character, or logic, of the Sierra Club mind, or at least discerning the thinking of its directors.
I found that people within the Sierra Club were mixed in their feelings-some favored proper ski development despite the preachings of the directors. In effect, they had proclaimed: “Wilderness must not be encroached upon-skiers must go elsewhere, to Sun Valley, the High Sierra, to Europe, anywhere. At all costs, we must deny skiing, this alien form of recreation."
Although the basic tenets of Christianity give man a free choice, these Sierra Club people have taken upon themselves the role of judging what form of recreation is superior and, therefore, mandatory, even though public land is at stake.
Though the wilderness taste is definitely a minority taste, as the ORRRČ report has confirmed, albeit commendable, it is the inability of these intolerant propagandists to speak rationally, or even intelligently on the subject of wilderness that consistently clouds the issue.
For example, the ski lift which is an invention of man and which has fostered the growth of skiing as a sport up to present day boom proportions is, according to them, a tool of "mercenary interests, not the means whereby the winter recreationist can gain access to a towering snow-clad alpine landscape, to him every bit as awe inspiring as John Muir's love of the elements he described and praised so fervently.
But then, this is not a battle between the conservationist" and the “despoiler of the wilderness," but rather a battle within the conservationists themselves. One group militantly claims its form of recreation cannot endure the sharing program set up under H.R. 6891; and the other group contends that family winter recreation and skiing is justifiably and truly conservationist as much as is summer hiking and camping.
Southern California simply does not possess "unspoiled wilderness”—the isolation which qualified San Gorgonio for inclusion as a wild area no longer exists. Adjacent centers of large population have rendered the heart of the area (rather emotionally spoken of as "being torn out of it") a pseudowilderness, a sort of grandiose picnic ground, with all its attendant problems—discarded beer cans, streams polluted by human waste and discharge, wild flowers broken down by hiking boots. Remember if you will please, this is an already existent situation-not one to be "passed off" on the hopeful winter recreationist to be.
Those of us who have hiked the many varied trials in the great mass of national forest land that Congressman Saylor stressed is available to "the larger number of citizens,” realize this land is every bit as wild as the 5 percent which carries the Federal label, “wilderness." We also realize this land is not being used by that enormous population because only a small percentage of people hike and camp in their pursuit of recreation. Only the alpine character-6 months of snow on a southern California mountain-distinguishes San Gorgonio as unique.
Let me close this testimony by relating two widely separate incidents, each of which serves to pinpoint the opposition. The first took place on the day of the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce luncheon, February 21, 1964. The newspapers had announced an open debate between the so-called Defenders of San Gorgonio and the proponents of family winter recreation on San Gorgonio. Yet the program appearing at each table setting was labeled "Sierra Club versus San Gorgonio Ski Lifts." Take away the Sierra Club and there wouldn't be any defenders of San Gorgonio. Take away the ski lifts and you still have the hundreds of thousands who are demanding, and by daily increasing thousands in this tremendously growing metropolitan area, will continue to demand the opening of San Gorgonio to family winter recreation until it happens I should say until you Members of Congress recognize the necessity and act by passing Congressman Dyal's bill.
The second incident involved world famous mountain climber, Norman Dyhrenfurth, who was answering questions after the showing of his superb Mount Everest film. When asked his opinion concerning the possible opening of San Gorgonio, he stated emphatically: "It should be opened.” When, several days later, we had lunch together and I asked his cooperation in passing his mature, seasoned, favorable judgment on to Secretary Freeman, he agreed. But then he had to decline when several of his Everest companions who are Sierra Club members pressured him into ineffective silence.
Gentlemen, the winter recreationist-man, wife, children; the family winter recreationist-is invariably in favor of preserving some portions of our country as wilderness. But the directorship of the Sierra Club fights any change in every established wilderness system, no matter how illogical. This philosophy of absolute inflexibility can only be corrected by your committee. I submit that not even the Sierra Club has been, or could be, 100 percent correct 100 percent of the time. I submit that here the skiers and the family winter recreationist are right and the Sierra Club is wrong.
San Gorgonio must be opened for limited entry to family winter recreation.
I would submit exhibits A and B to my statement for the record or for the file, as appropriate. Thank you very
much. (Exhibits A and B are in the files of the subcommittee.) Mr. BARING. Thank you, sir. All right, the next speaker, Mr. Glass.