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However, there is very little to offer by way of nondeveloped, noncommercialized facilities other than the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area.
Therefore, these school people have submitted their signatures to the following statement:
We, the undersigned, feel it is in the best interests of the young people of Southern California to preserve the San Gorgonio area within the Wilderness System as established by the Wilderness Bill of 1964.
Therefore, we strongly urge rejection of Congressman's Dyal's Bill, H.R. 6891, and other similar bills which would allow commercial development in San Gorgonio.
Thank you very much, gentlemen.
STATEMENT OF MRS. CHRISTINA ELLIOTT, INDIVIDUAL
Mrs. ELLIOTT. My name is Christina Elliott, Mrs. Fred J. Elliott, Jr., I live in Calimesa, Calif., with my husband and two children and I present this statement in behalf of myself and my family.
Incidentally, there is an attachment entitled "San Gorgonio Wilderness," by the Forest Service, which I present for the files.
The San Gorgonio Wilderness Area, as it now stands, must not be changed and need not be changed.
The basic idea of wilderness is to set aside prime virgin land and maintain that virginity until the end of time.
This must be done so that all mankind can enjoy nature's beauty. Commercial interests, no matter how high their motives, should never be allowed to compromise these virgin areas.
The San Gorgonio Wilderness Area is a year-round family recreation center. Winter sports, including skiing, are available to all the wilderness area in a noncommercial setting.
Let it never be said that a good winter sports area must be equated with the availability of a chair lift, or summer barren manmade ski slopes. Through the whole year the wilderness area provides a center for the study of nature, the enjoyment of scenic panorama, hiking on the many maintained trails, camping in a primitive manner, exploration of ice age geological sites, hunting and fishing, as well as winter sports.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF DICK KIDDER, INDIVIDUAL, UPLAND, CALIF.
Mr. KIDDER. Gentlemen, 4 years ago I came to California with a troubled heart and found in the wilderness the peace and repair that I desperately needed.
I cannot help but wonder how many young people find this same kind of spiritual strength and uplifting in the wonderful wilderness areas that our Government has set aside and protected.
I am a professional photographer. Recently, I went into San Gorgonio to produce a slide show on the wilderness. I spent many days photographing the area and interviewing the people who go there. From them, I learned the real value of the wilderness, something that cannot be expressed in cold facts and statistics.
I was amazed at how many young people use this beautiful area— Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, youth groups of all ages from all over southern California-and inspired by their dedication to
the wilderness. On a 2-day photographic assignment for the Camp Fire Girls at Camp Nawakwa in Barton Flats, I discovered why these children love the wilderness, and why they want it to remain an undeveloped wilderness.
As a result of my visits to San Gorgonio, my slide show, "The Last Wilderness" was born, and has been presented throughout the area in a personal attempt to arouse the public against opening the wilderness to commercial development.
San Gorgonio is big, but is also small. It is big enough to handle all the adults and children of southern California who will walk into its quiet sanctuary to enjoy it; but, it is far too small to withstand the onslaught of commercial development.
If it be the will of God that San Gorgonio be developed, so be it. But, even God could not keep it a wilderness under such circum
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF LYNN P. WALKER, VICE PRESIDENT, DREWRY PHOTOCOLOR CORP., BURBANK, CALIF.
Mr. WALKER. Gentlemen, my name is Lynn P. Walker.
As a city boy I grew up in Los Angeles in an apartment house. As a city Boy Scout I was privileged to spend several summers at one of the San Gorgonio area youth camps. Like thousands of youngsters, both before and after me, I partook of the special challenges, accomplishments, and inspiration that result from hiking and camping in a restricted wilderness area.
The value of maintaining the purity of such an area are personally evident to me in what grew through the years out of my own wilderness experience.
My love of hiking and camping-my children's love of primitive area camping, as well as whatever initiative I have shown in extending a like affection to young teenagers, was born in successfully challenging a primitive area, Mount San Gorgonio, as a 13-year-old. Thirtytwo years ago, as today, it was a tiny wilderness island in a sea of modern civilization, but it was roadless and primitive, and to hike over its slopes and on to the summit was a very special accomplishment. I still love to recharge my mental batteries on the slopes of Old Greyback and generally hike through the area four or five times each year. From observations on these hikes I would estimate that a majority of the 50,000-plus individuals who annually "sign in" for hiking and camping are first- or second-time teenagers.
I hold that we cannot, with clear conscience, rob these youngsters and their children's children of the opportunity for that special brand of accomplishment and inspiration that comes uniquely from wilderness hiking and camping.
Only three major high wilderness-type mountain areas exist in southern California; one, Mount San Antonio, or Old Baldy, no longer offers primitive area values since its development for commercial recreation, and its value as a camping and hiking area for the Boy Scout movement has diminished due to such commercial development. The San Jacinto area in past years has offered many of the same wilderness values found at San Gorgonio; unfortunately, this fine area is now following Mount Baldy.
Further, commercial development is now being planned to follow on the tram. Only San Gorgonio with its 35,000 acres of primitive area is left. Some 32 organizational camps with a noncommercial investment of over $3 million gear their activities to the wilderness area advantages. In just the last 90 days another organizational has been established, for Boy Scouts from the Verdugo Hills Council, 100 miles away in Glendale.
To place roads and ski lifts in the heart of the tiny San Gorgonio wilderness "island"—the last such area remaining in southern California-would be to destroy a precious legacy that should be protected with the same stewardship that we extend to other irreplaceable national treasures.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF ROLAND HARVEY WISSLER, PRESIDENT, SAN BERNARDINO VALLEY CHAPTER OF THE NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY
Mr. WISSLER. Gentlemen, I am Roland Harvey Wissler, president of the San Bernardino Valley chapter of the National Audubon Society with 200 members, and would like to speak in opposition to any change in the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area.
I am a native son of California, and I have been fishing, hunting, and enjoying the unspoiled out of doors for the past 37 years.
With the influx of population over the past years, I have noticed that the wildlife is being pushed out of their homes and living areas just as we pushed out the Indians. If we do not provide completely virgin areas for our wildlife we are going to lose them.
We of the Audubon Society have regular monthly field trips into places such as the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area to study, count, and identify the birds, plants, trees, and animals in their natural habitat.
If the trees, brush, and brouse are removed to make room for commercial family winter recreation, the birds and animals will not have the proper feed or cover to raise their families.
When this wild area is commercialized the wild animals are in danger of perishing. This area is multipurpose as it is now.
It is also virgin and a wilderness. There is no possible way to remove the heart of it and still call it a wilderness.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF ANN E. WISSLER, RESIDENT AND REPRESENTATIVE FOR MOUNTAIN HOME VILLAGE, MILL CREEK CANYON
Mrs. WISSLER. Gentlemen, at a meeting held on October 28, 1965, residents of Mountain Home Village, Mill Creek Canyon, discussed and voted overwhelmingly to speak in opposition to the proposed bill, H.R. 6891, and any other bill that would open up the San Gorgonio wild area to any commercial development.
Because of their proximity to the wild area (6 miles straight line distance; 18 miles road distance) as well as their location along the main access road to it, the residents present the following reasons for their stand:
1. The present road through Mill Creek Canyon with its many 30milee-per-hour curves is inadequate for the high weekend traffic that would result. (The average weekday load is at present approximately 700. The road was built in 1938 to accommodate an ever lesser load. The weekend traffic resulting from the completion of Highway 38 through to Big Bear has reached 4,150 per day in winter months and 6,970 per day in the summer months according to the Mill Creek ranger station.)
Increased usage by those unaccustomed to mountain driving already has caused an increase in accidents on weekends. These have been due primarily to excess speed on the two-lane winding mountain road.
The character of the narrow canyon makes any adequate highway improvement possible only to great expense, an expense that would have to be borne by the taxpayer in addition to the expense of putting access roads into the wild area itself.
2. Since 1959 four major fires have occurred in the Mill Creek area. (Morton Peak fire and three in the area of Monkey Face Falls near the Forest Falls-Camp Angelus junction.)
All were man caused and were started along the highway. Increased traffic and additional roads will bring a greatly increased fire hazard to the entire San Gorgonio area.
3. Additional developments necessary to make unreliable snow a paying proposition will bring many people to the area who care little for the natural offerings of the San Gorgonio area. This will present a litter and vandalism problem with accompanying fire hazard both in the wild area and along the access routes.
4. Commercial development will conflict with the present free recreational and inspirational use of many thousands of young people and nature enthusiasts who annually come to San Gorgonio to enjoy its unique natural features and wildlife (53,000 annually). This includes many residents of close outlying areas, such as Mountain Home Village, who choose to live there because of the unspoiled wilderness in their "backyard."
The residents of Mountain Home Village ask: "Need the one remaining alpine wilderness area in southern California be sacrificed to commercialism?"
There is no replacement available once it is gone.
I submit the attached petition for the file.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF W. LLOYD LAPP, INDIVIDUAL, LA VERNE, CALIF.
Mr. LAPP. Gentlemen, my name is Lloyd Lapp.
Our country is becoming more and more urbanized. Where then can an individual or a family get a taste of nature without seeing and hearing automobiles or looking through a beautiful grove of pine trees and only to see a manmade structure with human forms running hither and yon, spilling their refuse over the mountain.
The San Gorgonio Wilderness Area lies close to one of the greatest urban population centers in the world. Children from these cities flock by the hundreds each summer and winter to this area. There are some 26 organizational camps within hiking distance of the wil
derness area. It is my feeling that these young people will gain much, and grow in appreciation of nature, conservation of natural resources, and love of the Creator, from the land in its natural state rather than from any commercially "improved" land.
This area, by law, is designated as a "wilderness area" with definite restrictions as to its use. There are many wilderness areas in the United States.
It seems to me that if bill, H.R. 6891, or other comparable measures are passed, it would open the door and set a precedent that could very well lead to commercial ventures in any kind of the wilderness areas. This would be a disaster and be in complete opposition to one of the main purposes for setting aside a wilderness area; which is to preserve lands in their natural state for the use and enjoyment of future generations.
This area has been set aside as a wilderness; let us keep it wilder
To the point of family recreation, I feel that a wilderness would give the best use to the most people.
I personally am a member of the Church of the Brethren, with 15 churches in southern California. As a denomination we have a camp in the Barton Flats area near Jenks Lake. This camp services a minimum of from 430 to 500 persons a year.
A large percentage of the people do and will continue to use the wilderness area. These people are of all ages, children to senior
Let us keep the few bits of wilderness as a last fortress to hold off the urbanization that erodes and ekes away carelessness, the strength of our land.
Let us keep a wilderness retreat for our city children in which to strengthen body, mind and soul.
Let us establish a precedence of respecting the wilderness area established by the wilderness bill signed by President Johnson.
Let us give the best use to the most people by keeping it open and unspoiled.
Let us keep this San Gorgonio Wilderness Area for “recreating” rather than "wreck-creating."
Thank you, gentlemen.
STATEMENT OF JOHN W. RETTENMAYER, LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
Mr. RETTENMAYER. My name is John W. Rettenmayer and I reside in Los Angeles, Calif.
The wilderness bill was enacted to set aside intact those few areas of wilderness remaining for present and future generations. It was, and is, necessary to set them aside because wilderness is very essential to use and misuse by human beings.
As evidenced by any populated area, man inevitably changes the land and its natural inhabitants from their natural state, if only by his debris and noise. Any area that is penetrated by roads and other mechanical conveyances becomes in short order a populated place-perhaps populated by throngs of family picnickers instead of permanent. residents, but populated nevertheless. And, another bit of wilderness is no longer.