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Re: [CDT-L] Southbound

>From: Frank Clifford <Frank.Clifford@latimes.com>
>To: David Patterson <wr_ddp@hotmail.com>
>Subject: Re: [CDT-L] Southbound
>Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 12:33:24 -0800 (PST)

Frank, I'm not sure what you're getting at comparing apples to oranges. BLM 
land has nothing to do with the fees charged in our NF's and NP's. Besides, 
when you talk about impact, how many people are going to set off through the 
Big Hatchets aside from Joseph Gendron and a few thru-hikers; that is 
provided they can convince Pat Harris to drop them off or find another way 

>Dear David,
>Re fee demo. I understand the arguments against it that public land
>should be free to the public. i am not ready to embrace them for a
>couple of reasons. 1. Recreation is making a bigger impact and will
>continue to do so. There are plenty of places ,
>most close to big urban areas, where
>the damage to wildlife habitat rivals that done by traditional
>users. 2. It is becoming apparent that for people to influence the
>destiny of public lands, they will have to expend time and money on
>behalf of their particular interests. Those who don't, who sit on
>the sidelines waiting for Congress to do the right thing risk losing
>their influence.
>   3. The argument that traditional users have never had to pay their
>fair share is beside the point. Forget the fact that grazing fees,
>  don't cover the costs of range imprtovements. When a
>rancher has wanted the use of a particular piece of public land, he
>has been willing to spend additional amounts of money to have the
>land serve his purposes. Take the example of a rancher wanting to
>graze cattle in the Big Hatchet Mtns., along the CDT.
>  Besides grazing fees, he pays with money and labor a portion of the
>cost of the water ``improvements'' necessary to allow cows to
>survive in
>those mtns. In the process, the rancher has changed the culture,
>for better or worse, of the Big Hatchets. Cows can drink. So can
>wildlife. But so can people - in a place where God didnt put any

Really, I think fewer people reside in or near the Big Hatchets now than in 
years past. In case you didn't hike through the Big Hatchets let me share 
something with you. Previous civilizations thrived in those mountains. I 
know this because I found numerous cliff dwellings. Inside one there were 
pestle holes from grinding corn, miniature corn cobs, and fire blackened 
walls. Also, Bob Julyan found an arrowhead.

>In the process, various things can happen. They include over
>grazing, creation of ``ambush' sites where mountains lions prey on
>mountain sheep, not to mention recreational pit stops and a well
>worn trail that, in years to come, invites back country
>intrusion by
>hunters or other people on ATVs. To the extent that recreation
>participates in the process - opening up the country etc. - why
>shouldn't it help pay for the upkeep? Especially in places where
>recreation is piggy backing on the work and money of others. And why
>shouldn't recreation pay for the impacts it has?

Why shouldn't taxes pay for this? You fail to realize this is a deliberate 
attempt by for profit organizations to assume control of our public lands in 
order to increase their profits. Take our National Forest Campgrounds for 
example. Do you know how many are operated by the NF? None. Our local 
campground in Redstone, CO is managed by a private concessionaire out of 
Southern California. Why?

Of course NF's have never operated at profit. Heck, they give timber away, 
another unsustainable practice. Though what I'm getting at is this, budgets 
to NP's and NF's were deliberately cut. Here comes the ARA or whatever 
they're called under the guise of rescue. They paid for the fee-demo 
program. This is a company with organizations like Disney and the like 
behind it. I'm sorry, but I don't want to see our NF's and NP's exploited. 
They certainly require management, but ask yourself, how many people really 
leave their cars and venture into the backcountry? How much money does it 
really take to maintain backcountry sites? Do we really need tollbooths in 
the wilderness? What's more impactful, a road bisecting wilderness or a 

>Backpackers and
>hikers are always blaming someone else for the messes that are made.

Frank I can only take responsibility for my own actions. Perhaps this is an 
education issue. I recommend you read Jim Owen's letter to Budweiser, NRA, 

>But the well worn trails, the girdled trees and the denuded
>campsites in the wind rivers and the teton
>wilderness and other places I visited this past summer are everyone's

Wrong again Frank, the devastated trails, denuded campsites, and girdled 
trees you refered to are the direct result of too many horsepackers and 
outfitters operating in the NF. Backpackers do not: stampede bridges into 
oblivion, cut 20 yard wide swaths through meadows and riparian areas, or 
girdle trees...last I checked I didn't have to tether my pack.

>As I'm sure you know, there are a fair number of people
>who live along the trail who fear that eventually it will affect
>their way of life. And it very well could through local linkages
>that will may make many semi-remote trail segments popular weekend
>jaunts. (I will admit i am one of those people who is only slightly
>less despondent at seeing 25 people on a Sierra Club singles hike than
>I am seeing 25 cows lounging by a spring.) It's
>not everyone's dream to have all of the CD look like Colorado.

I certainly hope the rest of the CDT does not look like CO. For the most 
part a good portion of the CDT and CT are open to motorized use. From what I 
understand National Scenic Trails are supposed to be open to foot traffic 
only, and in the west livestock too. This does not include mechanized 
(bikes) or motorized travel.

>other thing that is happening is that groups that are willing to make
>contributions above and beyond tax dollars are playing an
>increasingly prominent role in back country planning.  Just look at the
>urban national forests.

Yes, you are right here. Groups that stand to profit have lobbyists, ie 
horse packers, ATV-ists, etc. Unfortunately these groups are backed by big 
business. Most people, the common man if you will, can not afford to donate 
anymore cause they're already taxed to the hilt! So does that mean we sould 
disregard common sense and low impact uses of our public lands in order to 
exploit the remaining wild lands because Joe ATVer donated a large sum of 
money to the NF or NPS?

>San bernadino NF is a good example. Just about the only user groups
>willing to chip in with money and time are the off-roaders (with
>Honda's help) As a
>result, they now sit at the table when forest plans are drawn up.
>Hikers and wilderness advocates don't except in the wilderness
>areas. If you can persuade
>this Congress to allocate more money for the care and feeding of
>low impact wilderness
>recreation, more power to you. But if you can't, remember the old
>saying money talks and bullshit walks.

Great attitude Frank. I guess we should just step aside and allow the 
Disneyfication of our public lands. Sorry we don't have as much money, 

Regarding impact perhaps you should consider where you live, LA right? Let's 
see here, the city that shouldn't exist. I remember reading Cadillac Desert 
fairly well. Also, I know that 1/3 or more of the Colorado River that's 25 
miles from my house goes to support LA. What about all the families and 
farms in the Owens Valley that were screwed out of their water? What about 
the aqueducts crossing the Mojave desert? Perhaps we wouldn't be talking 
about impact in the San Berandino NF if the Concrete Jungle wasn't depleting 
the Western State's water in order to support a city that shouldn't exist.

Frank Clifford
>Los Angeles Times Environment Writer
>Phone: 213-237-4457
>Fax: 213-237-4712

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