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REDLANDS FISH & GAME CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION,
Redlands, Calif., November 15, 1965. Hon. WALTER S. BARING, Chairman, House Subcommittee on Public Lands:
Wilderness areas cannot be built by man, he may only save those areas that have been left in his care to be enjoyed by all generations that follow.
The San Gorgonio Wilderness is such an area, situated less than one hundred miles from the largest and fastest growing population center in California. The need for and the use of Wilderness Areas can only grow with the burgeoning population and as the supply of suitable area is limited in Southern California.
Any commercial development would conflict with present recreational uses such as camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, photography, and snow-shoeing.
San Gorgonio, as the highest mountain in Southern California has the only Arctic-alpine zone with unique species of animals such as Bighorn sheep, and also rare forms of botanical life, all of which could be destroyed or damaged by commercialization.
We, therefore are opposed to Congressman Dyal's H.R. 6891 and all other similar bills requesting any form of commercial development. Yours truly,
Ross L. MOSSMAN, Secretary.
RESOLUTION No. 809
RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF EAST SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY WATER
Whereas it has been called to the attention of the said Board of Directors that hearings have been called and will be called for the purpose of considering changes in the San Gorgonio Recreational Area from undeveloped wilderness to classified and planned public ski recreational and allied commercial uses and purposes; and,
Whereas the area in question in its present state as an undeveloped wilderness serves as a natural water shed and conservation area tributary to the Santa Ana River River drainage area ; and,
Whereas the proposed classified and planned development of said area will deteriorate the natural water shed and conservation area, in that it will provide additional fire hazard, probable pollution of natural water supply and will diminish the area of natural water percolation: Now, therefore, it is hereby resolved:
1. That the Board of Directors of East San Bernardino County Water District be on record as voicing their protest and opposition to the proposed plan to open the undeveloped wilderness to classified and planned recreational and commercial uses and purposes.
2. That the Secretary of the Board of Directors of said East San Bernardino County Water District be authorized and directed to forward certified copies of the within resolution to Congressman Kenneth Dyal, Upper Santa Ana River Water Coordinating Council and other appropriate agencies and interested parties.
Unanimously adopted at San Bernardino, California, this 26th day of October, 1965.
JOHN W. LITTLETON, President, East San Bernardino County Water District. Attest.
HAROLD G. RICKERT, Secretary.
I, Harold G. Rickert, Secretary to the Board of Directors of East San Bernardino County Water District, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of a resoultion which was, on motion duly made and seconded, unanimously adopted and entered in the Minutes of the Board of Directors of said District at a regular meeting of said Board held on October 26, 1965, at San Bernardino, California. Dated October 26, 1965.
HAROLD G. RICKERT, Secretary, East San Bernardino County Water District.
BIG BEAR LAKE VALLEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
Big Bear Lake, Calif., November 15, 1965. DEFENDERS OF SAN GORGONIO WILDERNESS, San Bernardino, Calif.
GENTLEMEN : At the November 13th meeting of the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Lake Valley Chamber of Commerce, a second vote was taken on the stand the Chamber wished to take on the San Gorgonio issue, the first having been taken in 1964.
Again, therefore, we wish to go on record, by a majority vote, as opposing the opening of the area, and lend our support to your cause. Cordially,
DONALD C. ANDERSON, President.
HIGHLAND CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH,
Highland, Calif., November 12, 1965. PUBLIC LANDS SUBCOMMITTEE, HOUSE INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
GENTLEMEN : At the October 31, 1965, meeting of the Church Council of the Highland Congregational Church, a motion was passed by a vote of 12 to 2 that the Council, which consists of the elected officers of the church, go on record in defense of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area in regard to the Bill H.R. 6891. And further the Council wishes to state that we are against all bills that would bring to this area a commercial project such as that which is being advocated for the development of ski lift facilities.
The position taken is based on the sincere belief that the spiritual values of the area in its wilderness state will be of much greater benefit to the people of surrounding, heavily populated communities than the advantages offered by a ski facility.
We ask that all bills that propose commercial encroachment upon areas set aside as Wild Areas in the National Wilderness Act passed by the National Congress last year—and in this instance that of San Gorgonio—be abandoned so that the wilderness may endure as sanctuary for both man and nature. Sincerely,
PAUL B. POLAND, Moderator.
RANCHO MIRAGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RESOLUTION ON THE SAN GORGONIO
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
Rancho Mirage, Calif., November 3, 1965. Whereas at a meeting held on November 3, 1965, the Executive Committee of the Ranchero Mirage Chamber of Commerce has discussed and considered the issue of whether or not commercial development should be allowed in the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area, and
Whereas the following reasons were presented in support of the belief that San Gorgonio should remain within the full protection of the Wilderness Act of 1964:
1. The United States Forest Service has determined for more than thirty years that it is in the public interest to preserve San Gorgonio in its present status as a wilderness area, a decision based on the following considerations :
(a) The entire San Gorgonio Wilderness Area comprises only 4.3 per cent of the entire San Bernardino National Forest, and is the only true wilderness area in Southern California ;
(6) San Gorgonio is unique as the highest mountain in Southern California and has the only arctic-alpine zone, unique species of animals such as Bighorn Sheep, trees that are centuries old, and rare forms of botanical life, all of which would be ecologically damaged or destroyed by commercialization;
(c) San Gorgonio is the origin of the Santa Ana River and commercial development would very likely cause erosion and pollution of our existing water
(d) Wilderness is a scare resource and should be preserved for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
2. Commercial development of San Gorgonio would be a bad legislative precedent for the entire nation:
(a) Under the Wilderness Act of 1964, approved in Congress by an overwhelming majority, federal legislation and a national policy was established to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness. Elimination of such a popular wilderness area as San Gorgonio would inevitably lead to pressure for piece-meal destruction of the Wilderness Act;
(6) Commercialization would run contrary to statements made by President Johnson regarding the need for “America the Beautiful”, for conservation, outdoor recreation and the need for wilderness.
3. Attempts at commercial development were rejected last year by countless individuals, newspapers, organizations of all types, government officials and our legislative representatives. California congressmen voted 28 to 7 to preserve San Gorgonio, and the House of Representatives passed the Wilderness Bill 373 to 1.
4. There are more than 26 youth camps immediately adjacent to the area, and many thousands of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA and similar youth groups, all of whom use and depend on this area for valuable outdoor experience. Commercial development would deprive our young people from absorbing the inherent values of a wilderness experience, and would close certain areas to families and children who could not afford the admission charge and the expense of commercial ski facilities.
5. Expert skiers and members of the San Bernardino Mountain Rescue Unit dispute the quality and quantity of the snow on San Gorgonio. The snowfall is extremely unreliable and inadequate to support profitable commercial development without restaurants, bars and overnight accommodations, which are inconsistent with the present character of the area. Warm daytime temperatures and freezing night temperatures cause icing, frosting, the exposure of rocks and occasional avalanches, all of which would be undesirable and dangerous for commercial ski development. Furthermore, clearing the slopes for skiing would require the removal of countless thousands of beautiful trees and other plant life.
For the foregoing reasons, now, therefore, it is hereby resolved:
1. That the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area should be preserved in its present status, and remain under the protection of the Wilderness Act of 1964, which precludes the establishment of any commercial enterprise or permanent road within the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area.
2. Congressman Dyal's Bill H.R. 6891 and all other similar bills requesting any form of commercial development should be rejected.
YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION,
Redlands, Calif., November 10, 1965. PUBLIC LAND SUBCOMMITTEE, San Bernardino, Calif.
GENTLEMEN : The Redlands Y.M.C.A. Board of Directors are still opposed to any changes in the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area.
Once any part of this beautiful area (not alone the heart) is given over to commercial interest, it will mean the end of this area as we now know it.
Our Camp Edwards is on the fringe of this area, along with a number of other youth camps. All of our hikers have gone in and enjoyed this wilderness.
As our wilderness area begins to shrink, the youngsters in the future will have less and less opportunity to know and to enjoy this area as thousands of our youngsters do today. Sincerely yours,
L. R. COBLE, General Secretary.
SAN DIEGO CHAPTER,
San Diego, Calif., November 8, 1965. PUBLIC LANDS SUBCOMMITTEE, House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, Washington, D.C.
GENTLEMEN : It is respectfully requested that the following statement be made a part of the record of the Hearing on Bills 6891, 7490, 7654, 8033, 8176, 8859 to be held in San Bernardino, California on November 16–17, 1965.
On November 8, 1965, the Executive Committee of the San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club unanimously approved the following motion : "that the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area remain within the jurisdiction of the Wilderness Act and not be subject to commercial skiing development and other forms of 'family winter recreation.'
The basic reasons for the motion are listed below.
Scores of members of this Chapter have hiked, camped, skied and snowshoed in the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. Many have led youth and adult groups into the area over a period of several decades. These members know, from first-hand observation, that:
1. The San Gorgonio Wilderness Area is unique in Southern California in that it contains the only alpine-arctic zone with its rare fauna and flora.
2. San Gorgonio Wilderness Area has the highest mountain in Southern California.
3. That lands around the perimeter of the Wilderness Area, primarily to the southeast, offered as substitute acreage for the Dry Lake Basin area, cannot, under any stretch of the imagination, equal the natural resources, the offerings for scientific research nor the recreational opportunities of the Dry Lake Basin.
4. Other areas, with better and safer snow conditions for "family winter recreation,” are available in the San Bernardino National Forest but outside
of the Wilderness Area. Furthermore:
1. The San Gorgonio Wilderness Area comprises only 4.3% of the total area of the San Bernardino National Forest and yet, developers want the unrestricted use of 10% of this tiny area for facilities to be operated only during the winter season—about 16-14 of an average year.
2. Routing and installing of roads and utilities would involve additional, but unspecified, amounts of Wilderness lands.
3. Commercial developers would deny citizens and the public the fee-free use of Dry Lake Basin area. Regarding the Bills specifically :
1. H.R. Bill 6891, et al, present no definition of "family winter recreation.” The Bills do not establish responsibility for installing, maintaining and operating the facilities and attendent utilities and roads. Furthermore, the Bills do not indicate the procedure to be followed in case the venture fails.
2. The Bills offer no protection to the citizens who are dependent upon the lands of Dry Lake Basin and adjacent to it for their life, livelihood or recreation. Nor does it offer protection to groups of citizens who have established camps and other worthwhile centers for recreation,
3. Bills 6891, et al, violate the principals and intent of the Wilderness Act of 1964, which act was passed by an overwhelming majority vote in both House and Senate.
4. California Congressmen, at the time of voting on the Wilderness Act, voted 4-1 in favor of retaining San Gorgonio as a Wilderness Area.
5. Approving commercial development within the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area would set a undesirable precedent for other Wilderness Areas. It would be a carte blanc for the wholesale destruction of other Wilderness Areas, against the wish of the people and the law of the land.
The San Diego Chapter, with almost 1,000 members, heartily endorses the principal of the Wilderness Act and most respectfully urges the Public Lands Subcommittee to uphold the Wilderness Act of 1964 in its entirety and specifically in regard to the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. Respectfully submitted.
MIRIAM ANDERSON, Secretary.
LA QUINTA, CALIF. RESOLUTION OPPOSING COMMERCIALIZING OF THE SAN GORGONIO WILDERNESS AREA
Whereas the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area is being threatened by the possible deletion of one of its choicest areas for the benefit of commercial interests which was not the intent of the recently passed Wilderness Act, and
Whereas this wilderness has been used for many years by youth groups and others, many of whom live in cities and have little other contact with nature, and
Whereas the increased use by those not versed in the use of the wilderness may be careless with fire, and
Whereas the building of roads, parking lots and ski-lifts would necessitate the cutting of many trees, which would cause erosion of the mountainsides, therefore, be it resolved,
That the Coachella Valley Garden Club at a special meeting in La Quinta, California on November 3, 1965 opposes the deletion of any part of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area as set forth in H.R. 6891 (Dyal), H.R. 7490 (Corman), H.R. 7654 (Leggett), H.R. 8033 (Hawkins), H.R. 8176 (H. T. Johnson), and H.R 8859 (Roosevelt).
Mrs. KERN H. COPELAND, President. Adopted November 3, 1965.
FONTANA GARDEN CLUB,
Fontana, Calif., October 30, 1965. PUBLIC LANDS SUBCOMMITTEE :
The Fontana Garden Club is still opposed to opening up San Gorgonio to commercial interests in any form. We had hoped after this was rejected before that we would not have to keep reminding our representatives that we are very much opposed to ski lifts or commercial interests taking over the area as planned.
We are mainly interested in preserving the wildlife and wilderness for the future. Reasons are many, but we do want to go on record again as opposed to all the bills to open up this area to commercial interests. Yours truly,
IDYLLWILD PROTECTIVE LEAGUE, INC.,
Idyllwild, Calif., November 8. 1965. PUBLIC LANDS SUBCOMMITTEE, San Bernardino, Calif.
GENTLEMEN : Our organization, of over 500 members, wishes to go on record in opposition to the legislation which would allow commercialization of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. We are in the San Jacinto mountains, where we have had ample opportunity to see how such control of public lands by private interests works. The Winter Park Authority, was given, without charge, the use of four sections of State land, and now are operating a tramway. It was to be a gateway to the wilderness but has been, instead, a way of exploiting the wilderness for private gain. It has been unsuccessful, financially, and has caused desecration of the area. We see how impossible it is to turn back, once the step has been taken.
The public has been kept in ignorance of the real intent to develop a ski area in the San Gorgonio area, nor did they reveal that they were offered other land for their desired use. This is the choice spot and they will have no other.
If this legislation is passed, it will set a precedent to be followed in other mountain areas. The matter was debated and voted down in Congress one year ago. The promoters have waited until the public has thought the danger was past, and then has had new legislation introduced. We are grateful for this opportunity to be heard. Sincerely, (Mrs. Chas. E.) GERTRUDE P. MILLIKAN,