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serve its purpose to present and future generations by remaining an untarnished retreat available to millions, and free to all.


In the past several years, these words have been heard and read many times by Southern Californians. Being a skier, I became interested in what was so wonderful about San Gorgonio. In the last nine years the answer has been afforded me many times. Less than a half-dozen winter months between November and June have passed in this nine years that I did not make a trip into the S. G. wilderness area.

During this period, I have come to recognize "Open San Gorgonio" as one of the most incongruous and redundant arrangements of words.

Nowhere have I found an area so open, so rich and varied in quality of recreation, so non-discriminating of its patrons, and priced so right. I have found "young" people of all ages enjoying experiences afforded only by an area such as the San Gorgonio wilderness, and afforded because it is open only to people and not to the mutilation and harassment of commercialization.


Being an engineer with a college degree, I am likely in the average income group. In view of the cost of a day's skiing for an average family of four people, it is very unrealistic to term a commerical development a family recreation area when it is completely free to everyone, in its natural state.

I assure you, it can be used, and is used, by skiing families when snow conditions are suitable. In addition to this, what of the family summer recreation? From my nine years of using the San Gorgonio wilderness, winter and summer, and from my experiences in commercial ski areas, I am positive that commercial operations would render the area useless for summer wilderness recreation. I am also positive that the area would be closed to winter wilderness recreation and ski touring.


My very numerous trips into the San Gorgonio wilderness have convinced me that only about one year in five would this terrain provide, in its unaltered condition, any but limited and hazardous skiing for the great majority of the skiing public prior to the month of March.

All of my observations were made by travelling the area on foot. In doing this, it became obvious that aerial surveys of ski conditions are very inaccurate. In many cases reports of deep and complete coverage resulted from inability to distinguish between a few inches of new snow and uniform depths of several feet of pack.

In years of good coverage the snow remains on S. G. a few weeks longer than on other mountain areas of Southern California. However, it has been my experience that the great majority of skiers turn their attention to other interests at this time of year, even though there may be good snow in the local resort areas. In summary, my observations lead me to firmly believe that extensive terrain and surface feature alteration, completely incompatible with the wilderness values, would be required to realize an appreciable extension of the ski season in Southern California by commercializing San Gorgonio.


It seems that many of the Olympic calibre skiers, in Europe and the United States, whose names I can recall came from areas of relatively sparse population which were within daily afternoon striking distance of ski slopes with long seasons, rather than from great population centers located four hours round trip driving time from ski areas of spasmodic snow conditions.

I do not honestly believe that the Olympic-quality native talent in the Los Angeles area is stifled by the absence of a commercial ski development in San Gorgonio. I believe if this talent is frustrated, it is because Southern California simply does not have the reliable rainfall or temperature requirement to make it a great winter sports area. Seasons of sufficient snow in Southern California are the result of meteorological conditions freakish to, rather than normal to, Southern California.

As to San Gorgonio being a prospective location for Winter Olympic games, it is only necessary to consult the accurate weather history to realize that the probability of sufficient snow on San Gorgonio, prior to these events, would make their scheduling there a very hazardous venture.


The economic aspect is probably the most ill-chosen front on which the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area has been attacked by the developer. The growth rate of Southern California renders it obvious what a futile sacrafice, of an irreplaceable treasure, the commercialization of San Gorgonio would be. The benefits would be realized by a very few and would hardly be even a stopgap measure in bolstering the general economy. After this became insufficient, would we find another San Gorgonio to exploit? We all know the answer to this.

This same principle applies to the unrealistic belief that commercialization of San Gorgonio would cure, forever, the crowded ski lift lines and all other frustrations by which the Southern California skier is beset. When it is discovered that San Gorgonio is insufficient and that we have sacrificed it in vain, will we restore it to the wilderness condition? No, we would only have additional crowded lift lines and we would still drive to northern resort areas to find reliable snow for the major part of the ski season.


The San Gorgonio controversy is not a contest between skiers and hikers or any other two opposing groups. The great majority of the people who hike in San Gorgonio are very capable skiers. Being a skier myself, my contact with other skiers convinces me that the rank and file of skiers, on becoming aware of the purpose of our wilderness areas, are quick to grasp the significance of the real issue. The real issue is that San Gorgonio is our finest Southern California wilderness. It is only large enough to retain its wilderness values and an invasion of its heartland would render it utterly ineffectual.

If we are ever to have the courage to judge on the basis of quality rather than take refuge in basing all judgment on quality, now is the time to act and, in saving San Gorgonio, perhaps stem a tide that could make a complete mockery of that fine and far sighted legislation, The Wilderness Bill.




As a native son of this state, and a resident of Southern California for over 38 years, excluding four years in the service of the United States Navy, I honestly and sincerely know that the San Gorgonio Ski project would benefit all Californians.

As a family man who doesn't ski anymore because he can't afford to pack up his family and travel over 300 miles one way for one or two days of good weekend skiing.

As an operator of a business in the area for two years who witnessed first hand the actual number of Californians who reached the summit area of San Gorgonio.

For an example, in the winter months during this two year period I knew of only one couple who were capable of existing in and enjoying this high country. They were raised on skis, and spent half their lives on cross country skies which was the mode of travel in the part of Norway where they came from. They were a fantastically hardy couple, but even they had to give it up when the only protection offered from the severe winter storms in the area was removed by the Forestry Department.

As an individual who more than once has started up the trails at the west end of the reserve only to find them blocked with drifted snows at the 7,000 level in June and sometimes even in July. The majority of the trails into the summit area are on northern slopes, and with normal winter storms are usable about one quarter of the year.

As a citizen who has a better than average knowledge of the area and who has tramped over, cross countried in a four wheel drive jeep, flown over and made a living out of the area, and who was recently informed that there is a claim that some 58,000 people a year get into the summit area can only say that I am amazed at such a claim. The area in question is wild, remote, dangerous, in extremely high elevations and only available, to any practical degree, several months out of the year as it now exists.

I have lived in and owned property in this area for over eight years, and can honestly say that the entire area of over a quarter million acres is not now and never has been designed for the use of the general public nor even the average outdoorsman with limited equipment.

The San Gorgonio wilderness area is part of an area covering over a quarter of a million acres, and talking apples and apples, you cannot consider one area without including the other. Therefore, the true area in question is more in the realm of one quarter million acres.

These quarter million acres of public lands administered by State and Federal Governments have eight (8) improved camp grounds, and two (2) picnic grounds designed for the public's use.

These facilities are so inadequate that on the average summer weekends hundreds of campers are turned away. I have seen many weekends when the Forestry Department has placed signs at the Mill Creek ranger station, at the entrance to the mountain area, stating that the campgrounds are closed or all filled up.

The other use of the area is by the non-profit camps which use their facilities at full capacity only during those months when school is out which is less than three months out of the year. A very large number of the people who use the San Gorgonio area are those who have the privilege of using the private camps. I have been one of the more fortunate people who has had the chance to live in this area and have been able to see it, and know it as it really is.

As vast and as beautiful as this area is, 99% of the population do not know that it even exists because of its very, very limited usable area.

Those who oppose this use of and improvement of public lands can't validly oppose this if they are taking into consideration what is good for the majority. Right is right, and it is only right that all of the some 8,000,000 taxpayers surrounding this area get every chance offered to them to use and see this wonderful mountain country, any time of the year. It is there for us all to use if we wish some day, but not as it exists today.


HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Washington, D.C., November 8, 1965.

Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs,

House of Representatives,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: It has come to my attention that the House Subcommittee on Public Lands will conduct hearings in San Bernardino, California on proposals to provide skiing facilities in the San Gorgonio Wilderness area.

I have a very deep interest in every issue affecting the Wilderness areas and I am strongly opposed to any proposal which would allow a commercial ski development to cut into the heart of the San Gorgonio area.

You will recall that an unsuccessful attempt was made in 1964 to provide for skiing facilities within the San Gorgonio Wilderness area when the Congress passed the Wilderness Act. I opposed the proposal then and I oppose it now. I wish to be included among those who are expressing their views on this issue in order that I might register my strong opposition to it. With every good wish,


Member of Congress.


PALM SPRINGS, CALIF., November 16, 1965.

Chairman, Subcommittee on Public Lands
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs
National Orange Show Building

San Bernardino, Calif.:

We very much appreciate the opportunity to speak in support of legislation and proposals which will provide for the opening of a portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area for family winter recreational use. The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, over the past many years, has advocated, supported and worked vigorously to provide legislation and facilities which would make pos

sible the visitation to, and use of, this area's mountain, desert and wilderness


We wish now to reaffirm our earlier position supporting legislation which will make available use of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area to our citizens, to our thousands of visitors each year and to the people of California and the Nation.

It has been a pleasant experience to have initiated and brought to realization the Palm Springs aerial tramway, which stands as an example of what can be done, in a compatible manner, to make our mountains and wilderness areas available to countless California residents and visitors throughout the Nation.

We believe that opening the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area to winter recrea tional use will not only serve the growing demands for such facilities but will provide a pleasurable use strictly compatible with the wilderness, mountain and desert areas which surround it.

We urge your favorable support of and positive action for legislation which will make this possible.

LEO BAKER, President.

LONNIE HOOD, General Manager.

RIDGECREST, CALIF., November 17, 1965.


National Orange Show Building,
San Bernardino, Calif.:

The China Lake Ski Club the largest and one of the oldest recreational associations in upper Mojave Desert with 150 members who ski and hike requests your committee attention to our strong support of congressional action to permit recreational skiing in multiuse of Mount San Gorgonio. Such action will be welcomed by almost all southern Californians who like ourselves use the mountains and recognize that with increasing population we must use them for many recreational types of use.


National Orange Show Building,

San Bernardino, Calif.:


REDONDO BEACH, CALIF., November 16, 1965.

The people of southern California need the ski of San Gorgonio desperately. We hope your committee will do its best to bring this dream to our skiers. SOUTH BAY SKI CLUB.


San Bernardino, Calif.:

BIG BEAR LAKE, CALIF., November 15, 1965.

I would like to clarify a notice you received from the Big Bear Sportsmans Club where they have objected to the opening of the San Gorgonio ski area. This notice is misleading as it represents the opinion of the board of directors and not the membership in general. I am a member of this club and have many friends that are also members and we are heartily in favor of your bill to open this area to skiing.

Representative WALTER S. BARING,
San Bernardino City Hall,

San Bernardino, Calif.:


LONG BEACH, CALIF., November 16, 1965.

Scandia Norseman Ski Club of Los Angeles numbering over 100 members unanimously encourages and supports the development of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area for skiing.


ANGELS CAMP, CALIF., November 17, 1965.

San Bernardino, Calif.:

California Garden Club, Inc., at official board meeting voted to oppose bills of Mr. Dyal et al. which would permit ski slide development in San Gorgonio wilderness.


FULLERTON, CALIF., November 15, 1965.


Hearing Room, City Hall,

San Bernardino, Calif.:

Defeat H.R. 6891. Save the wilderness area for our use and other nature lovers.


Canoga Park, Calif., December 24, 1965.


Chairman, Interior and Insular Affairs Committee,
House Office Building,

Washington, D.C.

DEAR SIR: I requested time to speak at the hearings on San Gorgonio in November in San Bernardino, but could not be there due to inclement weather and transportation and personal problems. It is my understanding that those who could not be heard might send their statements direct to you. Therefore, on behalf of myself and the Ski Writers Association of Southern California I enclose twenty copies of our resolution of October 4, 1965, and in addition on behalf of myself I enclose twenty copies each of my winter sports columns of November 23, 1965, and of December 10, 1965, for your consideration. column of December 10, the material of interest to you in particular begins with paragraph 19.)

(In the

It is my personal hope that your committee will seriously consider the suggestions I have made in my column of November 23, 1965, so that skiers may ski and at the same time the unique esthetic and natural qualities of the Slushy Meadows area, the only Alpine meadow of its kind in the world, and other special terrain of the area will be preserved unspoiled.

Yours respectfully,



Whereas, millions of potential winter recreationists in the Greater Los Angeles Basin and Southern California have suffered through many relatively snowless winters at the presently-developed mountain resorts, and

Whereas, this is a condition which will continue to exist because these resorts are at marginal temperature levels, except in unusual circumstances, and Whereas, there exists within the upper regions of the San Gorgonio Wild Area thousands of acres of semi-Alpine terrain consistently covered with skiable snow through the months of a normal winter season, and

Whereas, the State of California at present is proceeding with establishment of a State Park in what is commonly known as the Hart Bar Ranch Area adjacent to the San Gorgonio Wild Area, and

Whereas, it is a commonly accepted evaluation based on experience and terrain studies by qualified observers that the altitude of the Hart Bar Ranch facility still will fail to provide consistent snow coverage for winter sports, and Whereas, painstaking studies over several years have established that a winter sports area of outstanding quality could be developed in approximately ten per cent of the San Gorgonio Wild Area-in the upper regions now used comparatively lightly in summer and virtually not at all in winter, and

Whereas, with proper and enlightened planning such a winter sports area could be developed which would not destroy the unique and esthetic and natural qualities of the San Gorgonio Wild Area, but would actually enhance them.

Therefore be it resolved, by the Ski Writers Association of Southern California, that the Congress of the United States approve the legislation now before

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