Letters to the Editor

Want access to the wilderness? Say so

In the letter "D.C. chats about our wilderness" (March 22), the terms "public lands" and "wilderness areas" are used in the same context. We, the public, do indeed own both within our national forests and deserts, but by definition they are completely different. "Public lands" are just that, and the public's access and recreational activities are managed by local Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management offices. But "wilderness" areas are closed to the overwhelming majority of the public; only those who walk in are allowed.

There are millions of acres of "true" wilderness set aside throughout the United States. However, these proposed new wilderness areas will be magically manufactured from current "public" forests by simply erasing campgrounds, roads and trails from official government maps. For the overwhelming majority of Americans, that means no more camp trailers, no more backcountry drives in your truck or SUV and definitely no more off-highway vehicles.

If you enjoy these activities, you had better

have a chat with your local and national representatives and tell them you prefer locally managed access over near-total closure.