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Mr. BARING. Thank you very much, gentlemen; you are excused. Our next panel will be Mr. Tatum, Mr. Johnstone, Mr. Robert Graves, and Dale Allison and Mel Gerrard.
Mr. HOSMER. And what do they represent, sir?
Mr. BARING. This is the Victor Valley and Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Mr. Johnstone is a district judge and Robert Graves represents the school board. Mr. Allison is the mayor and president of the Chamber of Commerce of Apple Valley. And Mel Gerrard is from the board of directors of the Yucca Valley Board of Realtors. You may proceed, Mr. Tatum.
STATEMENT OF RUPERT TATUM, REPRESENTING VICTOR VALLEY AND YUCCA VALLEY
Mr. TATUM. I, Rupert F. Tatum, president of Victorville Chamber of Commerce, am also member of San Bernardino Industrial Commission, chairman of advancement committee of Serano District, Boy Scouts of America, have had some 25 years' experience in Boy Scout work and activities, served 16 years on school boards of education; am now an elder of Church of the Valley United Presbyterian Church and chairman of the stewardship committee; member of American Legion having served three terms as a commander and one term as a district vice commander; member of Victorville Rotary Club; spent some 25 years of my life in Owens Valley and Inyo County in the High Sierra country, so am quite familiar with wilderness areas.
I am strongly in favor of this legislation to open this small portion of the Mount San Gorgonio area for winter sports.
I believe that since this country belongs to the people, so many more of our citizens could avail themselves of the great outdoors recreation such as skiing, far exceeding the number now entering the area from the standpoint of nature and wilderness. I further believe that this 10 percent of the San Gorgonio area would not have any great adverse effect on the remainder of the area.
It is also my conviction that such organizations as the Boy Scouts would not suffer by this act. In fact, I would say they would prefer the ski lift idea and could benefit from its use.
My connection with the city of Victorville as president of the chamber of commerce and my connection with Tatum Construction Corp., of this area makes me conscious of the tremendous economic benefit our southern California area would derive from a winter recreation area being opened for the great numbers of ski enthusiasts and citizens of southern California.
Being familiar with the area in question, I believe its potential to be far superior to existing facilities and would satisfy a dire need for additional winter recreation sites.
I urge the passage of this bill, H.R. 6891.
Thank you, sir.
STATEMENT OF JUDGE W. J. JOHNSTONE, VICTOR JUDICIAL DISTRICT, REPRESENTING VICTOR VALLEY AND YUCCA VALLEY
Judge JOHNSTONE. Mr. Chairman and committee members, at the present I am serving as judge of the Victor Judicial District. I have practiced law for 16 years and have been admitted to practice before the California State, and U.S. Supreme Courts. I am a member of the San Bernardino and California Bar Associations. I am married and the father of two boys, 17 and 11 years.
At present the 35,000 acres in San Gorgonio are almost deserted, and it will be more so as winter approaches. In the summer months when it gets the bulk of its use, it will still serve a minute percentage of southern California citizens.
As a family man, father of two, and a lover of the outdoors, I feel it is unfortunate that a region with the fantastic possibilities such as San Gorgonio possesses for winter recreation is closed to thousands and thousands who would be potential users if access and facilities were provided. I would like to see the area developed so my family and many other families could enjoy it.
From my standpoint as a judge, I have found that youngsters have to be kept busy. They seem to require something of a challenge, a thrilling challenge. Skiing can supply this type of outlet. An easily accessible area would provide some place for them to spend time in an atmosphere of wholesome outdoor recreation, just as hiking and camping do in summer.
It has to be admitted that the rapid growth of winter sports, skiing in particular, has been due in great part to ski lifts and easy, safe access to resort facilities. This is a reasonable assumption. For instance, would youth camps exist to the extent they do if it were not for access roads directly to their sites?
Now, I would like to mention in connection with the testimony this morning, there may have been some erroneous conclusions reached in connection with the testimony of Mr. Edward F. Dolder.
I have been asked to report to you what I have learned in connection with that testimony.
I understand that he reported to the committee that it was the position of the department of parks and recreation that the State was opposed to this legislation. I called Mr. Fred Jones, the director of the department of parks and recreation at Sacramento early this afternoon and spoke to him about this matter, and he indicated to me that the State had taken no position whatsoever with respect to this legislation. Mr. HOSMER. Mr. Chairman, I would like to suggest that the Governor of the State of California be asked for the position of the State, if any, on this legislation for the purpose of the record.
Mr. BARING. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Judge JOHNSTONE. I only have a few things to add.
One of the most disconcerting tasks that I have as a judge out in Vi torville is to deal with young people who come before me, and they
are not necessarily people from poor families; there are people from well-to-do families there also. But they do seem to get into trouble. It seems to me, at least to some degree, and may be even only in a small degree, providing the ski facility at San Gorgonio will assist southern California's youth in occupying some of their time. I think it will help the courts, the juvenile authorities, and law enforcement people in the problem that they have and it certainly is a gigantic one that I am sure all of you recognize; you are probably more familiar with it than I am.
Another point I would like to make very briefly is this.
I think that the opponents of this legislation fail to recognize a cardinal principle that seems to have been adopted by our Government and that is that the natural resources of this country should be used by the greatest number of people possible. I think that those who oppose it are disregarding that principle and I think the point was made by Mr. Johnson earlier, but this point was being overlooked.
I think, gentlemen, that the committee and Congress might take a good look at some law that they have in the State of Nevada. water law in the State of Nevada provides-and I think it is a good principle and I believe Mr. Baring perhaps would bear me out-that the water must be used by all the people; it belongs to all the people; and, it must be used beneficially by those people.
I think that we should apply that principle to the natural resources, particularly here, with the snow problem in southern California and on this mountain, but if we do apply that principle, we will reach a fine, noble, and splendid decision.
Thank you very much.
Mr. BARING. Thank you, sir.
Next, Mr. Graves.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT G. GRAVES, REPRESENTING VICTOR VALLEY AND YUCCA VALLEY
Mr. GRAVES. Congressman Baring and committee members, I am Bob Graves of Victorville.
I have lived and been in business in San Bernardino County for 12 years. I have served on many civic projects and organizations. At the present I am serving on the Victor Valley Joint Union High School and College District School Board as a trustee. I am a past president of the Victorville Chamber of Commerce and I am on the board of directors of the United Fund.
After careful consideration of all of the facts available concerning the proposed usage of 3,500 acres of San Gorgonio Wilderness Area for skiing, I must conclude that such a proposal is more than reasonable.
Southern California has only one mountain high enough to maintain an adequate snow pack for a reasonable period of time during the winter and that is Mount San Gorgonio.
The huge increase in population in southern California since the time that this area was declared to come under the wilderness act requires that the needs of the greatest number of people must be served. The Federal Government owns four-fifths of the total land area of the State of California and will continue to own these 3,500 acres.
With the area opened, its many uses could include school winter recreation programs for small children consisting of group trips and including rides up the lift. This for children too small to hike into the area in winter. The fact that schools would also be able to initate winter sports programs, is one to consider. Proper development in their own area, and in a quality facility would enable southern California to field some top winter athletes in Olympic and international competition as they now do in all the other events.
This small percentage of land, situated in any area naturally adaptable to recreational activities including skiing, should be opened to the use of the vast number of people who could benefit from such an application.
I would like to respond to a comment made by Congressman Hosmer earlier in the day when it was suggested that it would be a luxury to expect to walk out of one's backyard into a ski area. This would be the situation for the people who live in my district, because they would be able to do precisely that I believe they should be permitted to do that.
If the Federal Government will permit, in effect, the loan of a certain small area of Mount San Gorgonio, that will be the case.
This natural resource should be available to the greatest number of people, just as the ocean is available to all the people of southern California. This would permit 8 million people to participate on a daily basis if they so desired in a healthy, recreational pursuit.
I wish to enthusiastically ask your support of the bill because of that, along with the other reasons I have set out.
Mr. BARING. Thank you, sir.
Now, we will hear from the next witness, Mr. Allison.
STATEMENT OF ARTHUR DALE ALLISON, REPRESENTING VICTOR VALLEY AND YUCCA VALLEY
Mr. ALLISON. I am Arthur Dale Allison, 50 years of age, born December 3, 1914, in Whittier, Calif. I now live in Apple Valley, Calif., and have resided here for the past 9 years.
I am a real estate broker and own my own company along with my partner, employing over 100 licensed salespeople. I am the secretary-treasurer, and owner of 50 percent of all stock in the Albe Land & Development Co., Inc.
I am president of the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce and also the honorary mayor of Apple Valley.
Being in the real estate profession, I know the beneficial effect a project of this kind will have on cities, suburban districts, resorts, and the entire surrounding areas for miles in all directions.
Many of my friends love to ski even though I don't personally. I have heard their mournful words for years, wishing, crying, pleading for a place to ski. Now there is a chance for these people, and I feel they should have this ski lift.
Skiers traveling to and from the ski lift will be staying overnight in all towns even 50 to 75 miles from the lift. This will benefit merchants in all lines of endeavor.
From the time I was 8 years old until I was 19, every summer was spent with the Whittier YMCA camp, the first years as a camper,
and the last 3 years as a leader. This camp is a few short miles from the exact area we are now discussing. I personally know the beauty and solitude of this area as I have hiked it and ridden horseback through it hundreds of times. Therefore, I am one who loves the great private outdoors. However, I also love my friends and know the crying need for a recreational area of this sort. This beauty and nature will be opened for the enjoyment of the hundreds of thousands of our citizens whose need will be satisfied by the ski lift.
In an article I read in the San Bernardino Sun, dated November 15, 1965, Mr. C. R. Merritt and his group of defenders point out that 53,900 people were in the area in 1964. This is a crime that this beautiful area be denied to millions that need it, and only a tiny handful actually get to enjoy it.
There are 35,000 acres in this entire area, and only one-tenth (3,500 acres) is needed to help millions of people. This leaves 31,500 of the original acreage for the wandering and meanderings of those people who wish to be alone and back to nature. This great area that now is almost entirely unused and enjoyed by only a few, and which is completely unproductive to our State, could become a productive instrument in the area of taxes, returning tremendous tax revenues to help in the growth and forward progress of this great State of ours. It can be an instrument which could be attractive and interesting in the eyes of industry and I'm sure over the future years would certainly attract fine industries to areas within 25 to 100 miles within the mountain and desert areas.
Finally, the need for a training ground for our fine young Olympic potentials is one that has been written about, talked about, and pleaded for, for years. These young people represent our country in probably the greatest competitive contest between almost all of the world's countries and powers and attracts greater worldwide interest than any other one single action.
The worldwide political connotations that attach to the Olympic games and the importance of having outstanding representation in every area of the games is known by one and all.
Therefore, I hereby, as a representative of Apple Valley, implore this body to give only one-tenth of this wilderness to the citizens of this land of ours who need it so desperately.
Mr. BARING. Thank you, sir.
Now, Mr. Gerrard.
STATEMENT OF MEL GERRARD, REPRESENTING VICTOR VALLEY
AND YUCCA VALLEY
Mr. GERRARD. I am Mel Gerrard, member of the board of directors, Yucca Valley Board of Realtors, in Yucca Valley. The Yucca Valley Board of Realtors is composed of 135 active members. The San Gorgonio legislation was brought before our board at our regular meeting last month, and our board voted unanimously to support the conversion of 10 percent of the area to a ski area.
Here are our reasons for supporting the legislation:
1. San Gorgonio is close to Yucca Valley. We want this area to open for recreation for the benefit of our Yucca Valley residents; approximately 7,000 people live in Yucca Valley alone.