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I still go to Barton Flats and Seven Oaks where families and boys and girls attending camps enjoy birds, animals, wild flowers, and mountain streams and lakes. Children attending camp often hike up San Gorgonio, an experience never forgotten.
I do not see how there could be a ski lift with an access road without ruining the natural beauty which people now enjoy.
Publicity about opening up San Gorgonio to more people ignores the fact that more than 50,000 people use it each year now, and that many of them are children from low-income families who have no other chance to enjoy a wilderness area.
President Johnson has asked that the Wilderness System be enlarged.
We need to keep the wilderness area in San Gorgonio as it is. If it is destroyed, there will be nothing in southern California to replace it.
Thank you very much, gentlemen.
STATEMENT OF MRS. F. A. PETERS, EXECUTIVE BOARD, BEAU
MONT WOMAN'S CLUB
Mrs. PETERS. Mr. Chairman and members of the Public Lands Subcommittee, my name is Mrs. F. A. Peters.
As dean of chairman and member of the executive board, I was, asked to represent the Beaumont Woman's Club at the hearings today.
Our position is to oppose the various House bills which would remove any part of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area for the purpose of commercial recreational development.
In March of 1964, the Committee on Conservation of the Beaumont Woman's Club, initiated a resolution, which, following approval locally, was submitted to the De Anza District of 28 Women's Clubs in the county of Riverside.
Favorable action was taken on this resolution at the De Anza District of Women's Clubs convention, April 21, 1964.
The resolution reads as follows:
Whereas, our rapidly growing Southern California population requires wildlands to escape the pressures of civilization, more than it needs additional recreational developments; and,
Whereas, the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area is one of the few sizable remaining wilderness areas in Southern California, and is one of the most heavily used such area in the United States; and,
Whereas, Ski promoters are seeking the exclusion of the heart of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area from those lands covered by the wilderness Bill now before Congress : Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the De Anza District, No. 23, California Federation of Women's Clubs opposes the removal of any lands from the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area for the purpose of ski or other developments.
At a meeting of the executive board of the Beaumont Woman's Club, November 1, 1965, our previous stand in the matter of this resolution was unanimously confirmed by members of the current executive board.
An extensive program of study and education is carried on by our Federated Women's Clubs at the local, State, and national level to assure if possible, the wisest use of our country's natural resources.
In Riverside County each year, women's clubs, individually, and through the De Anza district, collectively, contribute materially to support such conservation projects as “Penny Pines Plantations."
Through such programs, we try to insure the continuance of existing wildlife and recreational resources locally, also the preservation of southern California's valuable watersheds.
Reasons for opposing commercialization of a portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area as advanced by our members were many and varied, but in general it was felt that many intangible values as well as physical benefits might be adversely affected, particularly for young people in southern California, now and in the future. As one
member so aptly remarked, “It is easy to pluck a flower, but did you ever try to put it back ???
I might also add at this time, this resolution was renewed at the De Anza district, CFWC meeting held Monday, November 15, 1965, in Palm Springs, Calif.
Thank you for this opportunity. STATEMENT OF VINCENT X. FLAHERTY, FORMER SPORTS WRITER,
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. Mr. FLAHERTY. Gentlemen, please insert the enclosed newspaper stories as part of your official record of the current hearings.
I would request they be made a part of the file.
1. Series of articles, published, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, August 1965.
2. Series of articles on San Gorgonio published in San Bernardino Sun-Telegram, July 1965.
As a former sportswriter of many years experience, and having been close to and part of outdoor sports throughout that time, I believe these stories are a faithful presentation of facts.
This is to verify they were written by the undersigned and published in the above-mentioned newspapers.
Also, in behalf of George R. Hearst, Jr., I am enclosing an editorial published November 4, 1965, in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, of which Mr. Hearst is publisher.
Also, an editorial initialed by Norman Chandler, president of the Los Angeles Times Co. and published in the newspaper August 13, 1964.
I am enclosing these two editorials particularly because the abovenamed gentlemen are leading conservationists of California. Thank you, gentlemen.
STATEMENT OF WALTER P. PARKS, RIVERSIDE, CALIF. Mr. PARKS. Gentlemen, I have with me a statement signed by the leading public school educators of the city of Riverside, a community of 130,000 people, located 40 miles from the San Gorgonio area.
The 38 signatories include the superintendent of schools, members of his administrative staff, and the principals of the various elementary, junior, and senior high schools of the district.
I would submit the statement for the file at this time. These men and women who specialize in dealing with the problems of boys and girls believe that the wilderness experience available in San Gorgonio is extremely important to the young people of southern California. There are in the general southern California area a large number of highly developed recreational and entertainment facilities. 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.
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 areaBoy 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 circumstances.
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 camp 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 REPRESENTA
TIVE 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: