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ences, and other programs in favor of continuous re-runs on television of Peyton Place? Should we install the go-go girls in the National Gallery, perhaps as a form of pop art? If the few are always to be sacrificed to the greater number, this must follow.
And if you should decide so to alter the television programming to cater to immediate mass preferences, it would not matter much because next month or next year, if you found that this was a mistake, you could reverse your action and nothing would be permanently lost. Almost instantaneously after “Peyton Place” was shut off, the air waves would be as free to telecast “Hamlet” as ever. The air waves cannot be destroyed by one decision. But, as already pointed out, a decision to remove a portion of San Gorgonio from wilderness is irrevocable.
ONE MAY KNOW WITHOUT SEEING
Last June my daughter, son, and I took a short hike of perhaps three miles down into the village of Idyllwild, which is in the San Jacinto mountain area across the pass from Mount San Gorgonio. The trail was a pleasant one. Although it paralleled the road to Idyllwild, which was about one-quarter mile away, the trees and ridges screened the road from our sight after the first hundred yards or so, nor could we see the houses being built near the road. But because we knew the road was there and houses were there, because of the occasional distant hum of a skill-saw, this walk, although pleasant, was akin to a walk through a park; it was not the equivalent of a wilderness experience.
The ski lift promoters suggest that wilderness lovers could still walk through much of the San Gorgonio area without seeing the ski lift, the bulldozed slopes, and the macadam highway, and that what you can't see can't hurt you. If they believe this, if they cannot understand the difference in feeling that is occasioned by knowing a ski lift, parking lot, and resort are on the other side of the ridge, whether one sees it at the moment or not, then dialogue or communication with them may be impossible.
A wilderness area is of value, not only because of its beauty, but also because here one can look around him and know that for miles it is an area "untouched by human hands." Southern California, like the rest of the United States, has many man-made wonders, but is it not important to retain some area as God made it, unaided by man? It is this feeling that here is an area which has had no changes except those of nature since the time of the American Revolution, the time of Norman conquest, the time of Christ, and for eons prior thereto, that causes such an area to be a well of inspiration. That is why many churches choose the periphery of San Gorgonio for inspirational camps, and why many people who are not active in organized religion also find spiritual inspiration here.
Man can destroy all this, however, in the twinkling of an eye-not with a nuclear weapon, but merely with an uncautious vote followed by a bulldozer. If he does so, it can never be regained, and those millions of children in Southern California will be denied an experience which they cannot otherwise gain in this part of the country. Yes, man can sell his birthright for a mess of pottage. We ask of Congress, don't be the broker for such a transaction.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT E. CROWDER, GARDENA, CALIF. My name is Robert E. Crowder, residing at 2904 West 139th Place in Gardena, California.
I would like to express my appreciation to the members of this committee for taking the time from your busy affairs of state to hear a plea to retain this region as an unspoiled wilderness area.
I represent no monied organization, club or association, but I am appearing here as a private citizen, a family man with three teen-age sons and as a resident of an area adjacent to the Watts riot area.
As a former scoutmaster and volunteer leader of other youth groups it has been my good fortune to take many groups of underprivileged boys and young men from our neighborhood for a week to ten days of wilderness camping, fishing and swimming in this last "close in” high mountain wilderness area. For a transportation fee of a buck for the 75 mile trip, a potential delinquent youth can develop into a better citizen by learning to have self respect and be self reliant.
The skills that thousands of youngsters off the streets learn from a wilderness back pack hike in this region and the ability to work as a team, to respect the property of others, cleanliness and to help others is something that money cannot buy. Unfortunately, these kids do not have the money or organization for professional people to represent them at a hearing of this type.
It is ironic that while we spend millions of dollars on juvenile delinquency, slum clearance, etc., here at our doorstep we are utilizing an area to combat this menace without any cost to the taxpayer in retaining it in its present forma wilderness area.
True, there are the San Rafael, Cucamonga and Devil's Canyon wilderness areas, but these are without water during the summer months and the only vegetation is sage brush, manzanita and cactus, Furthermore these areas are closed during fire season which usually extends from May to November and is the prime camping season. This situation in regard to the retaining of the wilderness areas for hikers and campers reminds me of the way the Indians were shoved out into the wastelands in deference to money interests of the white man.
Commercial groups from ski manufacturers to motel chains and including professional ski clubs have been after this area as a posh resort that would be available to only those who could afford the tariff of using the chair lifts, motel, bars etc.—that would someday be located in this area. A thoughtful person would examine the cost of skis, ski boots and other gear necessary for skiing and would realize that an average family with children cannot afford skiing as a recreation for such a period of the year.
The proponents for converting this to a ski area the last time it was discussed used the arguments that our winter Olympic ski teams needed this area for development. After our dismal showing in the winter Olympic cross country ski events and other international meets it was quite evident that our skiers had spent too much time on ski lifts and not enough time on physical conditioning for cross country meets. In fact a more spartan type wilderness training is what our skiers need. The evidence of long hours of conditioning is shown in our long distance runners in the Olympics. Therefore the arguments for conversion are not valid.
Gentlemen, the money interests who pushed for the change last year and the year before are back here again only under a different banner—the sanctimonious sounding “family winter recreational area", but the end results are the same: neon lights, bars and gaudy commercialism.
A tour during the snow months of our family winter recreational areas from Mt. Pinos on the north through Mts. Waterman, San Antonio and into the Big Bear-Arrowhead area will show that there is an overabundance of facilities that are available to the average family. As a youth leader, I have taken a church or scout group to the snow for a weekend every year for the past ten years and never once did we have trouble in obtaining weekend accommodations ; use of ski slopes or sled runs. Our groups would range in size from 15 to 30 people and we have used accommodations in Wrightwood, Big Pines, Arrowhead, Big Bear and Seven Oaks regions.
I would like to conclude with a fervent hope that your findings will sustain this wilderness area for the youth of the future.
STATEMENT OF SYLVESTER MORNING, SANTA MONICA, CALIF. My experience in skiing dates back some 15 years, when the first two of my four children were at an age when my wife and I had to find some athletic outlet for them or risk losing our minds because of their boundless energies. Through friends who skied, we were introduced to the sport-cold weather, running noses, wet feet and all of the unglamorous facets of a very glamorous sport. We survived somehow despite the seemingly endless long week-end trips to the High Sierras and other equally distant places. After a month or so, we were “hooked” and would go skiing despite the weather, long drives and equally difficult Monday mornings. When snow existed on those rare occassions in Southern California, it was like a quiet week-end to drive a few hours to and from the local areas.
Time progressed and so did our family—to the tune of 4 children and many dogs and cats. The one thing that didn't change was the long drives to Mammoth
and other far distant ski areas. I'm fortunate that the rigors of travel didn't deter two of my children from entering college, and both are still skiing. One, on his college team, and the other as a member of the United States Ski Team.
It's been a wonderful like and did one thing we never had before we began skiing. That is a real close family relationship between all of us. We have a rapport now which we wouldn't trade for anything. I just wish that San Gorgonio would have been available all these years—with the savings of some 6 to 8 hours driving time for all those week-ends we might have had time for more children and an even better family relationship.
If San Gorgonio will make possible the kind of family life we now have for more people, and I think it will, in terms of time and money, I'm all for it-and those are the sentiments of my family, too.
STATEMENT OF JEFF VEROUDEN, PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIF. My testimony will be brief for the reason that I have not been skiing too many years. You see, my wife and I are from Holland, where there is not much skiing. We were very impressed when new friends offered to take us skiing in the local mountains. We thought that we would be able to go often during the winter season and were surprised to find out that snow didn't last very long and did not fall very often. We could not afford the time or money to drive to Mammoth and other places so far away so skied a little in the winter and hiked in the summer in the local mountains. Then we heard of San Gorgonio and the long snow season there. We have not skied there, but have seen the mountain from a distance many times and from our friends we are told that only a small portion of the whole mountain is needed for skiing. If this is right, do we ask too much to request you to give this matter your favorable attention?
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM R. MCAFEE, SACRAMENTO, CALIF. I oppose H.R. 6891 (Dyal) and five identical bills which would require the Secretary of Agriculture to set aside up to 3500 acres of the San Gorgonio Wild Area for “. . . family winter recreational use and for the development and installation of facilities therefor...'
My reasons for opposition are:
1. Removal of up to 3500 acres for winter sports development (i.e., skiing facilities) would cut the heart out of one of the most heavily used wilderness areas in the country. Ski resort operators have prepared plans for widespread development within the Dry Lake watershed, including the north slope of San Gorgonio Mountain, and it is these groups who have supported Mr. Dyal's bill. The centrally-located Dry Lake area is the most suitable for ski development, so one must assume that this is where the elimination from wilderness will occur. This region, however, is one of the finest parts of the Wild Area.
2. There already are a number of ski areas near Los Angeles, but comparatively little land is set aside in wilderness areas. I do not think it is in the best longterm interest to require that part of one of the existing areas be declassified, especially since it was incorporated into the San Gorgonio Wild Area after careful study by the Forest Service as to its greatest value. True, the proposed law would require that an equal amount of land be added ; but the only remaining roadless area adjacent to the Wild Area (southeast) has been considered for inclusion at least twice previously but was left unclassified. This indicates that its wilderness quality is not as great as that of land in the existing Wild Area.
3. The Wilderness Act of 1964 established procedures for declassifying wilderness areas or portions thereof. H.R. 6891 and the identical bills circumvent these procedures. If a segment of wilderness is to be considered for declassification, methods set forth by law should be followed.
STATEMENT OF CLARENCE SUTTON, LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
Members of the Sub-Committee of the House of Representatives, on Public Lands, Parks (National), National Forests and other Recreational Areas, in studying the above bill I detect the grasping fingers of a person or persons who have in the past and are still very vocal, advocating a land grab here for the erection of ski-lifts and other appurtenances that accompany skiing. Granted there are quite a number of people who do use the numerous ski-lifts and other skiing areas, in the mountains of southern California, and as far as I can find out, the installations available are adequate for the small minority who are addicted to the so-called "sport," of SKIING.
Should the disaster of another installation, particularly in the location of the north slope of San Gorgonio which would not be used more than three or at the most four months out of the year by the ski group which would remove forever, for the following eight months, the use of this area for the general public.
In checking with Forest Rangers and others who keep data on the use of our Parks and Forests, I find that in 1964 there was approximately 53,900 visits to the area; about half of this figure was Children in camps, of various denomina. tions and groups. These children some of whom were Blind, spent anywhere from three days to two weeks in the camps set aside for camping facilities which are located almost in the heart of the 3500 acres around the Dry Lake location. This would necessitate moving these kids to where-only-God-knows, so that they could spend at least part of their summer vacations in and among the beauty of Nature created only by God's hands.
Gentlemen, in view of the above facts, in my opinion, it would border on the criminal to so desecrate this area for all time, denying the access to the healthy outdoors of these groups of Children, who do so enjoy being out in the primitive which gives them a better understanding of the world of Nature. Before I lost MY eyesight, to see the smiles on the faces of these youngsters, as they studied and learned natural laws of the universe, was a tonic to my soul, and gave me some experiences to remember which I can truthfully say to you, made me a better citizen.
Frankly, it is very hard for me to understand why the ruthlessness that is used in the destroying and the attempt to destroy those places and things of beauty that have been placed here for the benefit and enjoyment of the majority of the citizens of the United States, rather than to be commercialized by a small, selfish minority.
True, personally I don't have too many years to go, but I am pleading for my children, my grandchildren and great children and all kids who are to come following us. They have a right to expect that we of this generation shall so legislate that forever our natural heritages will forever be safe.
You hear the cries of and the shedding of alligator tears for our grandchildren “having to pay for” some of the debts that we are running, and where those debts are made for the benefit of all, they should pay for them, as they will enjoy the results. However, I feel that we will be forever condemned (and rightfully so) should we continue to allow a chipping-away by the quick-buck boys, of our natural resources which includes wilderness areas and other parts of beauty.
I sincerely hope that this sub-committee will find it in their hearts to recommend the death of H.R. 6891 and any and all other similarly proposed legislation.
STATEMENT OF JOHN C. BOYD, RIVERSIDE, CALIF. I have a hobby which means a great deal to me. It is a hobby growing in popularity throughout much of the world. There seems to be great attraction to this hobby for scientists and those with related interests. In fact it can be said that those who are chiefly responsible for the many scientific developments in this country are very likely to be attracted to this pastime. It is also known that children who are introduced to this activity are more likely to grow up to be scientists, engineers, teachers, etc. than those who never have these values introduced to them. It is a most rewarding hobby and the only one I and many others have found which gives us a chance to adequately work off the tensions evolving from modern day living. It gives us a chance to stand back and get things into perspective; to view life objectively. It also affords one a chance to find what is really important and that we aren't really dependent on so many of the things we take so much for granted today.
Sounds like a very rewarding hobby doesn't it? It is. Unfortunately there is one drawback; it is an activity which, it seems, must be constantly defended from those who would destroy it. Although it harms no one, this hobby is repeatedly brought under attack by those who would destroy it merely for their own personal material gain. They would force those of us who don't wish to strive for great material wealth into giving up that which we hold so dear.
What is this hobby which seems so beneficial, but is under this constant barrage of attempts to eliminate it? It is hiking and camping along wilderness trails. Simple as that. There are many of us who have an all pervading curiosity about the world around us; how it was created; what its natural laws are; how they apply; of what uses can they be made We also strive to know our fellow man and what is really best for man and the world he lives in. I for one find the best place to approach these and other problems is in the wilderness, as nearly as possible the same as when God created it.
Those who would destroy the small remaining portions of this wilderness have many rationalizations as to why they think their reasons are valid. For instance: They make the claim that it is too hard to get to these places for many. (More people more money?) If it is really so hard then I wonder how on earth the pioneers ever settled this great country? They didn't have fancy autos to get around in while they grew big fat wide bottoms. Think how much healthier we would all be if we did more horseback riding, walking and outdoor living. “But there isn't time to go to these out-of-the-way places unless there are roads for faster travel," is another claim. As far as I've been able to determine, most everyone has the same 24 hours every day to spend as he sees fit. From the crowds in many back country areas these days it would seem that there is time for many people. How come some have enough "time" while others don't? Do you suppose those who do find time to get in to remote areas are the one who genuinely want to? I know I never have much trouble finding time to do something, if I really and truly want to do it!
To the claim that there are so many who are physically unable to get around to see the outdoors without artificial transportation I am reminded of something I saw recently. While returning down a mountain trail I came across a mother with her two children. One was a little girl about ten or eleven years old. She was crippled in both legs and unable to use them. She was on crutches and making her way slowly down the steep trail. Mother was wisely not helping; just keeping her speed to that of her daughter's. When asked if any help might be needed, the mother's reply was a cheerful, "we'll make it okay". Why was this crippled girl able to make progress on this trail and why try when there are so many places one can drive to with commercial “advantages”? Very simple she wanted to! There are very few people in this country who are really unable to get into wilderness areas—if they really want to.
There are many whose values are on the “material standard”. Although those of us with values based on the “aesthetic standard” think we can understand these people, they seem unable to understand us and our needs. They would no doubt say the same about us. We, however, are perfectly willing to let them keep their cities and commercial projects in developed areas with no wish on our part to destroy those things. They, on the other hand, seem to be driven with a desire to destroy forever that which is so dear to us.
Are we selfish and anti-social? I don't think so. Most outdoor people I know are willing to share this bounty with any and all who are interested. We encourage trips into the back country for children in the knowledge they will benefit immensely, as we do. Hikers are among the most friendly, helpful people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. None of this standing back and watching while someone is in trouble as has happened on some city streets recently. No, we are a basically friendly lot and more than willing to share the outdoors with all who really want to enjoy it. Our only objection is to the use of artificial means to enter and use this domain. If we didn't dislike unnecessary commercialization we wouldn't head for the backcountry at every opportunity.