« PreviousContinue »
1. The present road through Mill Creek Canyon with its many 30mile-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
(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.
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 wilderness 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 citizens.
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.
We need wilderness for many reasons. Boys and girls cannot learn about nature on the asphalt playground of their school or in our increasingly crowded and "apartmentized” residential areas.
Since we are becoming more aware of the importance of understanding the ecology of our environment, researchers and students of the life sciences need natural laboratories where they can observe the natural state.
People of all ages need wilderness for its spiritual, esthetic, and therapeutic values—values which are becoming increasingly scarce to residents of our base metropolitan areas. The concrete canyons of the city can hardly compete with the architecture of nature when it comes to creating a sense of awe and reverence in men. But, these values are diminished by a powerline or ski lift marring the view and, more importantly, the wilderness' sense of solitude and integrity-and do not forget that roads accompany these facilities.
Why not give up 10 percent of the San Gorgonio wilderness? Let us answer that question with another. Why only 10 percent?
If the present population requires 10 percent for developed ski facilities, what will the population 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years from now require? Will we then be asked to sacrifice another 10 percent of the wilderness? Or, 20 percent? I think these questions are best answered by a look at the Los Angeles Times of November 5, 1965.
In the special supplement entitled "Ski World” there is revealed the never-ending expansion that most, if not all, existing areas are experiencing. One article titled "Expansion Never Really Stops on Mammoth Mountain Ski Slopes” expresses succinctly the fact that once an area is opened, even slightly, to development, more and more development inevitably follows. After all, it is human nature to want more of a good thing.
But, wilderness is a good thing too, and its supply is fixed. Technology can increase the supply of ski areas in some cases; for example, snow machines can augment natural snow conditions and better transportation can make remote areas more accessible, but technology cannot create wilderness. It can only destroy it.
Thank you very much. STATEMENT OF G. R. ANDERSON, RIVERSIDE, CALIF., INDIVIDUAL
Mr. ANDERSON. Gentlemen of the Public Lands Subcommittee I have many reasons for preserving our last high wilderness area and strongly protest a ski lift which would open it for commercial purposes.
I bought a cabin in the Big Pines area close to Forest Home and use this cabin as a retreat to get away from the congestion of city life, and desire to keep the wildlife and all their natural setting intact from the mobs of people whose only interest would be pleasure and cause a hazard to our watershed, and many accidents on our highways and mountain roads.
Hiking, fishing, and hunting and family camping areas would certainly suffer much. I have talked to one sporting goods store, which I would rather not name, whose only interest would be the sale of skiing equipment and moneys derived from this source.
Our future children yet to grow up would not have the natural things of life such as the deer, bears, birds of many kinds, tree squirrels, butterflies, trees of many kinds, plants also. Many busloads of schoolchildren come up here supported by the different school districts to learn about nature, and all this would be hampered by the mobs of pleasure seekers whose only interest would be skiing.
I am very much aware of the need for campsites and those who enjoy camping out, and certainly would not hinder this type of pleasure. One cannot be selfish and stop those who need to get away from the big cities and smog.
I sure know only too well the need for more rangers to keep people in control, to prevent littering and fire hazards.
I am a committeeman for Young Life Campaign (youth work for high schools) and kids enjoy the wildlife and the natural setting, hiking, et cetera.
And, southern California needs San Gorgonio as a wilderness area. Thank you, gentlemen.
STATEMENT OF S. R. EBERLY, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, SAN
BERNARDINO COUNTY FARM BUREAU
Mr. EBERLY. Honored gentlemen, the San Bernardino County Farm Bureau opposes H.R. 6891 and related bills because:
1. The proposed development threatens the water supply which is vital to agricultural and urban need. It is known that water crop diminishes as population increases.
2. More people and more traffic in the wild area will increase the fire hazard, multiplying the flood menace that follows large burns. 3. The best interests of
all the people will be best served by maintaining the San Gorgonio wilderness area as set aside by the 1964 Congress.
4. If the proposed development is allowed, it will be impossible to deny further requests, and the last remaining wilderness in southern California will be commercialized.
The position of the 1,500-member county farm bureau is supported by a 1964 Resolution 86 of the California Farm Bureau Federation (60,000 members) and the American Farm Bureau Federation policy on natural resources, which states in part:
Congress has again assumed its constitutional responsibility in regard to wilderness areas. We commend this action. The citizens of California as well as the agricultural and industrial economy of the State are becoming more and more dependent upon public lands for multiple use including water necessary to insure our future well being.
We oppose movements by certain groups to limit the use of such areas, to the detriment of other segments of the population dependent on the areas
Thank you very much, gentlemen.
STATEMENT OF JEAN G. DEAN, VAQUEROS de las MONTANAS RIDING
CLUB OF BIG BEAR LAKE, CALIF. Mrs. DEAN. Gentlemen, I am Jean G. Dean, treasurer of the Vaqueros de las Montanas Riding Club of Big Bear Lake, Calif. This group has elected me as their spokesman to express opposition to bills now before the Congress which would permit a ski development in the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area.
Our active riding group located in Bear Valley notes with each passing year the encroachment of people and homes in our mountain area and the results are less and less natural riding and hiking trails.
Living in an area of several fine ski developments which are not used to their capacity, we feel strongly that another ski area is not what is needed, but that instead the people of coming generations will desperately need a natural forest and mountain area to visit, free of manmade improvements.
Mrs. Harlan and myself represented our club at the 1963 North American Trail Conference competitive ride and know how indeed the San Gorgonio area is for this type of activity to which entrants come from all over California.
Our club has ridden and hopes to continue to be able to ride these wonderful trails in a wilderness environment.
We request that this statement be entered into the record of the San Bernardino hearings, of the Public Lands Subcommittee, on the San Gorgonio issue.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF NEALE E. CREAMER, CHAIRMAN, CAMPING COM
MITTEE, CRESCENT BAY AREA COUNCIL OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
Mr. CREAMER. Gentlemen, the Crescent Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America has asked me as chairman of the camping committee, Beverly Hills district, to present this subcommittee its views with respect to H.R. 6891 and related proposals.
Crescent Bay Area Council is very distressed at the recurrent attempts to allow a ski resort complex within San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. Attached hereto is a letter to this subcommittee from Donald W. Douglas, Jr., president of Crescent Bay Area Council, summarizing the position of the council.
Basically, the council is opposed to H.R. 6891 because youth-or, because the scouting program, as well as the programs of other youth organizations, depends for its quality on the use of San Gorgonio as a wilderness, which use would be substantially, if not totally, prescribed by the installation of mechanized ski facilities.
The basis for this conclusion is as follows: 1. A ski resort in San Gorgonio would most likely be centered in the Dry Lake Basin.-From my firsthand knowledge as a skier who has skied at San Gorgonio, and as one who has examined the various proposals by those in the ski industry who would wish to invest capital to develop San Gorgonio, the most suitable area for a ski resort, both from the point of view of terrain and economics, would be the slopes surrounding Dry Lake.
The fact that other parts of San Gorgonio could be developed for skiing is irrelevant in the long run since the development of an inferior area would only lead to additional pressure for the development of the superior area.
2. A ski resort could only grow into a resort with substantial permanent facilities and lodges operating both summer and winter. There is no way of guaranteeing, whether by congressional legislation or Forest Service regulation, that a ski development of San Gorgonio would not expand into a year-round operation including overnight accommodations and entertainment facilities.