Wilderness is worth protecting
I have just read Tony Vagneur’s article on the Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal (“Wheels of destruction,” Sept. 5, 2009, The Aspen Times), and must thank Tony, on behalf of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, and of future generations, for his thoughtful, powerful and concise description of what our precious remaining wildlands are up against. The sense of entitlement seems to be growing, as does the stridency of its proponents. We have found that an argument based on user conflict, environmental degradation and habitat fragmentation falls upon deaf ears. It really is sad, but true, that education doesn’t work, and that route closures, enforcement and stiff penalties seem to be the only recourse.
The lower-elevation areas in the Hidden Gems proposal are critical for maintaining biodiversity and the beauty and grandeur that make the White River National Forest the most heavily visited National Forest in the country. Folks who wish to see wild places remain wild for their grandchildren, and for future generations of all the creatures that depend on these places for their survival, need to step up and defend them. The ill-mannered, me-first attitude must not be allowed to prevail over science and self-restraint.
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