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November our family made a back-packing trip into the wilderness area. As we passed through South Fork Meadows we encountered many campers and when we reached "Dollar Lake" we had to search for a place to make camp because the people had taken all the camping places around the lake. I might mention that there was snow on the ground.
I'd rather make use of the existing ski developments; and possibly those proposed than see any intrusion being permitted in the San Gorgonio "wilderness area."
"People without vision perish." I vision our last remaining wilderness area in southern California kept intact; not only for my family to enjoy, but for many other families and future generations as well. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF EDWARD A. MULVANEY, PRESIDENT, THE TRW
SYSTEMS (FORMERLY STL) DEMOCRATIC CLUB
Mr. MULVANEY. My name is Edward A. Mulvaney. I'm an electronics engineer and department manager with TRW Systems (formerly Space Technology Laboratories). I believe my recreational tastes are representative of the kind of people who work in the industries of technology. I'm the father of three teenagers, and we're all avid skiers. We are enabled to participate in this very expensive sport by a substantial income. We also hike and do back-pack camping, which is open to and participated in by almost all income groups— especially in the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area because of the concentration of youth camps. I'm also the president of the TRW Democratic Club, and I'm here to present this resolution on behalf of the club.
As a prelude to the resolution I'd like to make the following quotation from Joyce Cary:
A friend of mine tells me that a Beethoven symphony can solve for him a problem of conduct. I've no doubt that it does so simply by giving him a sense of the tragedy and the greatness of human destiny, which makes his personal anxieties seem small, which throws them into a new proportion.
A wilderness experience is an emotional and inspirational experience just like that Beethoven symphony, and mechanization for skiing is like an electric guitar in the middle of the symphony. The skiers and developers do not want to spoil the wilderness, and neither does the electric guitar player want to spoil the symphony-but he does. Also, I would offer a set of exhibits numbered I, II, III, and IV for the file. I will refer to them in my resolution.
(The resolution referred to follows:)
RESOLUTION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE SAN GORGONIO WILDERNESS AREA
At a meeting held on November 12, 1965, the TRW Democratic Club agreed on the preservation of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area in its present state for the following reasons:
San Gorgonio today is a family recreational area. All portions are open for family use at no fee. Mechanization for skiing would reduce family participation by lowering the quality of the wilderness and removing from service one of the largest and most desirable campsites-Dry Lake.
A mechanized ski mountain is fit for only one use. Mountains used for mechanized skiing are not used for other purposes except by a few sedentary sight-seers-certainly not the type or number who use natural mountain. Gor
gonio, like any other mountain would require extensive rework for mechanized skiing. Good runs with continuous snow are required from top to bottom for access to lifts. The attached reproductions of advertisements show how all good ski mountains must look (Exhibit I). It is especially visible in the Mammoth Mountains picture that each lift serves from 3 to 5 or more ski runs. These runs must be manicured to clear away trees, ravine, stumps, rocks, fallen treesall those things which make a wilderness what it is.
Mechanization for skiing would help the privileged at the expense of the existing users who have no other places to go. Skiing is a very expensive sport enjoyed by a relatively small and privileged portion of the population. They have the resources for traveling to more distant places and would continue to do so because Southern California skiing will never be comparable with that available in the high Sierra. Exhibit IV shows snow comparisons.
Skiing is not a family sport except for high income groups. A child cannot be equipped for less than $100 and is seldom equipped for less than $200 (see Exhibit II). Further, they outgrow their equipment, and turnover is a continuing cost. Lift tickets for a family of 5 cost $17.50 per day at local ski areas. Exhibit III shows actual costs of the presentor of this resolution, who finds all the skiing he can afford here in the local mountains.
Youth would be the losers if Gorgonio is mechanized for skiing. The users of the existing wilderness area are from 60% to 90% youth (under 18). Skiing is not a youth sport. The average age of skiers is approximately 30 years. More campsites are needed-not less. To many, Dry Lake is the most beautiful of all the campsites, especially in Spring, and early Summer because of its openness and the reflective water with Gorgonio mountain in the background. It is the 3rd most used camping area with access from the north. Because of its unique openness, it can accommodate very large groups, such as boy scout troops which Slushy Meadow is sometimes unable to accommodate. Yet mechanization would not only remove Dry Lake from service (it could become a car camp which is very much a different function) but would also take the only reasonable flat land available for additional campsites above (south of) Dry Lake. This land is ideal, and although not so designated, is used as dry campsites. Further, water could be made available without violation of the wilderness. No replacement lands of comparable quality exist in or near the wilderness. A significant increase of service for compatible use could be achieved by improvement of existing roads and campsites.
Year-round wilderness recreations are natural, unstructered, and economical. These more personal forms of recreation should receive their thoughtful share of the dwindling unmechanized natural resources. Careful preservation of resources for these kinds of recreation finds little popularity with the commercialized and mechanized orientation of developers, sport writers, coaches, and promoters of structured, competitive sports.
Winter sports in southern California should not be elevated to a level of importance wherein irreplaceable recreational areas serving other longer seasons are sacrificed or reduced in quality.
We, therefore, urge that the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area be preserved in its present natural state.
Thank you very much.
THE TRW SYSTEMS (FORMERLY STL) DEMOCRATIC CLUB,
HOUSE INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS COMMITTEE,
GENTLEMEN: Thank you for the opportunity of testifying at your field hearings in San Bernardino. I appreciate the fairness in which they were conducted. Please include the attached with my testimony given at San Bernardino. It is a result of my own research and I believe it helps place in prospective the values under question.
1 Placed in committee files.
EDWARD A. MULVANEY, President.
1 Skier market research for Northeast North America, Department of Commerce.
2 1965 World Almanac.
3 California public outdoor recreation plan, published 1960.
Hikers, campers, and other skiers
80 percent youth.
0, $12, $40.
9 to 12.
8.5 to 9.8 percent.3
STATEMENT OF MRS. WARREN CLINGMAN, INDIVIDUAL,
Mrs. WARREN CLINGMAN. My name is Mrs. Warren Clingman. In many conversations with people in Mentone I have found that the "senior citizen" generation are most emphatic in stating that the San Gorgonio wilderness should remain as it is without mechanical development. The history of the area seems to indicate that it is valuable as a wild area and well deserves its present protection under the National Wilderness Act.
Many people that I have talked to feel strongly that this generation has no right to alter the heart of this wild area just because we have the technical ability to do so, or that some may profit from it. Putting ski lifts on San Gorgonio would irrevocably change the area and future generations would have no choice of preserving a high mountain wild area. Here in southern California predicted growth of population makes this wild area extremely valuable.
Because I believe that all of the present San Gorgonio Wilderness Area should remain completely protected I find it difficult to argue the relative merits of how many ski lifts, where the parking lot should be, et cetera. However, because my husband and I have four children, we and many other parents are interested in the practical aspects of the cost of recreation. Medium-priced equipment listed in the Montgomery Ward 1965-66 catalog to outfit one child or teenage who has an adequate jacket for school is compiled in two groups for comparison:
Comparing the cost of outfitting a child it seems clear that more families could enjoy the snow play than skiing. There are now many areas quite accessible after a snowfall where families can find a good hill to sled on. The present ski facilities in the Big Bear area can accommodate families who wish to ski.
I think the phrase "family winter recreation area" is not a clear discription of the intended development on the high and rugged slopes of San Gorgonio. "Summer family recreation" in the wilderness area requires little more than a plastic bottle canteen and lunch in a sack. The area is certainly not "locked up," but is free for families of all income levels to use and enjoy.
I believe that San Gorgonio Wilderness Area is far more valuable to many more people, now, and in the future, fully protected by the National Wilderness Act.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF BARBARA J. LILLEY, INDIVIDUAL, LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
BARBARA J. LILLEY. My name is Barbara J. Lilley. This letter is submitted, for the record, at the hearing on the six bills (H.R. 6891, H.R. 7490, H.R. 7645, H.R. 8033, H.R. 8176, and H.R. 8859) which concern the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. This hearing is being held in San Bernardino on November 16-17, 1965.
The last remaining wilderness area accessible to heavily populated southern California should not be opened up for the building of downhill ski facilities. The Sierra Nevada, the closest wilderness after San Gorgonio, is 200 miles away, and many people who do not have the time nor the money to make this drive, especially young people such as Boy Scouts, Y.M.C.A., and other youth groups, would thus be deprived of the opportunity to enjoy the recreational values that only a wilderness area can provide-one does not often find a juvenile delinquent who also likes hiking, camping, and fishing. San Gorgonio is used by hikers summer and winter as long as the road is passable. It is true that San Gorgonio is just that portion which is most suitable for camping, hiking, and fishing and gets the heaviest use.
Another reason against the opening of San Gorgonio to the building of downhill skiing facilities is that the skiing is just not that good or that reliable. I personally have visited the area one or two times. a year during the past 12 years and only in May, in the 1 or 2 years when snow has lasted that long, have I found skiing above 9,500 feet. On all other occasions--during the months of December, January, February, and March-the snow above 9,500 feet has been so hard packed and icy that I did not feel safe without ice climbing equipment such as an ice ax and crampons. The fact that one can observe a cover of white on the slopes of San Gorgonio from far away-which shows up nicely because there are few trees on those slopes-does not always mean that skiiable snow will be found there. The north side of Mount San Antonio has just about the same exposure-and the same snow conditions and there have been a number of people killed there who have slid down the icy slopes. Unfortunately, these slopes are observed from the Palmdale side only, not from the Los Angeles basin.
San Gorgonio is not inaccessible to skiers, of course. It is a very popular area for ski touring and the 2 feet of snow which is really all that can be relied upon, unless it is an exceptional year with much above normal rainfall in southern California, would be worn down to bare ground in a weekend of downhill skiing, yet would persist for 2 or 3 months if skied on only by cross-country skiers. The mild southern California climate makes ski touring much safer and more enjoyable than in the Sierra Nevada even without huts; simple tarp shelters are adequate. Needless to say, a ski resort would spoil the area for ski touring and snowshoeing as well as for summer use. Incidentally, I have been a downhill skier as well as a ski tourer for 15 years, and I would prefer to continue to make the drive to Mammoth and other Sierra resorts than to see downhill facilities built in San Gorgonio. There are other areas closer to Los Angeles than Mammoth, such as Mineral King and Robinson basin, which could be developed as downhill skiing facilities without resulting in what amounts to complete destruction of a wilderness area. And existing local ski areas are doing quite well through the use of manmade
In summary, it would appear to be a tragic mistake to build downhill ski resort facilities in an area where it would, essentially, destroy the area for wilderness use (both summer and winter) and where reliable skiing can be counted upon for only 2 months a year. If the promoters of the ski resort do not realize this that reports of snow depths are highly exaggerated-they will be soon disillusioned; otherwise, it would appear that skiing would really be only secondary and they plan to make their money through summer use such as the San Jacinto tramway does.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF MRS. GERRIT T. BRATT, INDIVIDUAL, CLAREMONT, CALIF.
Mrs. BRATT. I represent one family of five. We love wilderness. We love the tamed out of doors. And we love skiing. We hope Congress will keep the San Gorgonio wilderness as it is.
To those of you on this committee who worked so long and hard for the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act, we thank you, very much.
PLEASE FAVOR WILDERNESS
We hope the primary concern of this committee in relation to the Wilderness Act will be to review Forest Service recommendations of lands to be included in the wilderness system. Where there is controversy we hope you will favor wilderness, because a wilderness can always be undone but never re-created. Where there is a choice between larger or smaller boundaries we hope you will favor the larger area for the same reason. To the unending proposals for development and withdrawal we hope Congress will answer: "Wait." We hope the wilderness system, just born, will have a chance to grow, mature, and prove it will fill the need in our culture which we believe exists. Withdrawal in less than 10 years, perhaps 25 years, we feel would be premature.