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While the present bill, with its various compromises, to placate the timbering, mining, and livestock interests, seems to lean over backwards in their favor, at least this seems to be a small step in the right direction and we all hope that it may lead to preserving those small portions of the land now left for public enjoyment. Sincerely,
LENT A. WILLIAMSON, President.
LOS ALAMOS SPORTSMEN'S CLUB, INC.,
Los Alamos, N. Mex., February 20, 1961. Hon. CLINTON P. ANDERSON, Chairman, Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, Washington, D.O.
DEAR SENATOR ANDERSON : The Los Alamos Sportsmen's Club, consisting of over 150 members, fully endorses the wilderness preservation bill, s. 174, and urges its passage as an insurance of continued enjoyment of the great outdoors by future generations and prevention of exploitation by minority groups. Very truly yours,
JACK E. JOHNSON, President.
IZAAK WALTON LEAGUE OF AMERICA, INC.,
NEW MEXICO COUNCIL,
February 23, 1961. Mr. ELLIOTT S. BARKER, Washington, D.C.
DEAR ELLIOTT: Thank you very much for your kind letter of February 18 informing us of the hearing on the new wilderness bill, s. 174, to be held on February 27 and 28. We have already sent word to our Joe Penfold in Washington telling him that the New Mexico division as well as all the chapters stand behind the new bill.
We do appreciate your keeping us informed because we sometimes do not hear of such activities as soon as you do. Lots of luck on your trip and I do hope the bill passes this time.
I expect that you know of the proposed amendment to the Rio Grande Gorge bill proposing to cut down the width of the park to one-half mile from the rim of the canyon. Several of our boys will be in Santa Fe to fight that proposal. Sincerely yours,
A. D. VAN VESSEM, Secretary.
FOUR CORNER SUN CLUB,
Farmington, N. Mex., February 23, 1961. Hon. CLINTON P. ANDERSON, Chairman, Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, Washington, D.O.
HON. SENATOR ANDERSON : We are writing our support and endorsement for the wilderness preservation bill, S. 174. This bill is worthy in every respect and we hope to see it get out of the committee this time.
Also to testify for this bill will be our own very much respected Elliott Barker. We are behind him and fully endorse what he has to say. This also is true of the New Mexico Wildlife and Conservation Association. Good luck. Sincerely,
MERLE HOSTETTER, President.
ALBUQUERQUE, N. MEX., February 27, 1961. ELLIOTT BARKER, Executive Secretary, New Mexico Wildlife and Conservation Association, Statler Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C.:
The New Mexico Field Archery Association fully endorses preservation of wilderness and statements by NMWCA. Urge passage S. 174.
JASON P. MOORE, President, Nero Mexico Field Archery Association.
Mr. BARKER. Mr. Chairman, I would like to read just one letter here that gives a little sentiment that is prevalent throughout your State and mine. It is from the Tiano Sporting Goods Co., in Santa Fe, N. Mex., to you, the Honorable Clinton P. Anderson.
DEAR SENATOR ANDERSON : The Tiano Sporting Goods store serves a very large segment of the people in this area who indulge in outdoor recreation.
A great many of our customers hike, ride horseback, pack-in, camp, hunt and fish in the Pecos Wilderness Area. We know that practically all of them are highly in favor of wilderness preservation and necessary legislation to guarantee continued protection of wilderness areas.
We of this company are also highly in favor of it. It is hoped your committee will act favorably upon the wilderness preservation bill.
Mr. Chairman, that represents more or less the sentiment of all these additional statements I have filed. Here is a rather unusual statement that comes also. Last Saturday evening in Chicago there was a little reunion of the wilderness trail riders there at a hotel. They got together, 42 of them there, people who have been on the American Forestry Association sponsored trail roads.
They prepared a little statement and signed it, all of them, with their names and addresses, endorsing the preservation of the wilderness bill and urged the passage of legislation that will assure its continuance.
(The letter referred to is in the committee files.)
Mr. BARKER. With that, if I may, I would like to proceed with my own personal statement.
Mr. Chairman, I am Elliott S. Barker, of Santa Fe, N. Mex. While I am a member of conservation and wildlife organizations, this statement is my own personal statement. Yet I know that in supporting wilderness preservation it represents the deep feelings of hundreds of my personal friends and scores of thousands of good American men and women who annually trail ride, camp, hike, hunt and fish to refresh their minds and restore their souls in the God-given, primeval wilderness areas of the West.
I know that is so because I have been on wilderness trail rides, camping, hunting and fishing trips with some 500 of them from all stations of life and almost every State in the Union. When such a sample is unanimous in its enthusiastic support of wilderness preservation there can be no doubt that it is representative of other scores of thousands of wilderness users.
The fact that I have been the American Forestry Association's representative in charge of a dozen 11-day, 15 to 25 guests wilderness trail rides in 5 different States, and have made scores of other wilderness rides with guests might lead this honorable committee to believe that I am speaking from a single viewpoint. Quite the contrary is true. I speak from widely varied experience and multiple viewpoints. I'll tell you why.
I immigrated to a mountain ranch in New Mexico with my parents overland in covered wagons 71 years ago. I was ranch-raised, some call it hillbilly, and for a time was a professional guide and hunter, and operated a sawmill. Then I spent 10 years as U.S. forest ranger and forest supervisor. Resigning because of low salary I ranched for 11 years ranging cattle on the Pecos Wilderness Area.
I might explain it was not declared wilderness until after but it is the same identical area and was as much or more wilderness area then than it is now.
After that for a year I was in charge of wildlife management and predator control on a 300,000-acre mountain cattle ranch and game preserve. Then I was State game warden, head of the department of game and fish, for 22 years, retiring in 1953.
So I have had the opportunity to look at wilderness and the need for its preservation from all angles.
The opponents of this bill seem universally, to overlook the fact that the lands involved-national forests, public domain, national parks and wildlife refuges are public property. They belong to all the people. The fact that a very small segment of the public, principally stockmen and lumbermen, are permitted to carry on commercial enterprises on the bulk of these public lands does not give them the right to dictate what shall be done with a small remnant of it.
Each American citizen's share of federally owned lands amounts to about 3 acres, and his share of national forests lands is about 1 acre. I for one want my share in a wilderness area.
Speaking from a stockman's viewpoint, I would say that since the wilderness preservation bill specifically provides for continuation of established grazing privileges I would have no possible reason to protest. I'd be content to continue enjoyment of grazing privileges on the national forests, public domain, and State lands at fees far below the commercial rates on private lands. My ranch and grazing permit successor and my friends and neighbors to graze stock on the Pecos Wilderness Area. I know they are secure because this bill positively does not jeopardize grazing permits on wilderness areas.
Speaking from a lumberman's standpoint, I would have to admit that 92 percent of the national forest area is now available for lumbering operations so far as wilderness areas are concerned. I would also have to admit that for me to protest the reservation of the remaining 8 percent, most of which is too high and rugged or barren for lumbering anyway, as wilderness for the benefit of present and future generations would be to take an exceedingly selfish attitude. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Barker, have
you ever gone
on horseback from Willow Creek Ranger Station to White Creek Ranger Station in Gila!
Mr. BARKER. Mr. Chairman, I have been on every game trail and livestock trail and forest service trail in the Gila area.
The CHAIRMAN. I am just trying to qualify you as an expert witness. Is there any of that land you would undertake to timber if you were in the timbering business?
Mr. BARKER. Yes, I was in the timbering business.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you go into that particular area and try to timber it at the present time?
Mr. BARKER. I don't get the question. I hear so poorly.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought it was a little rough to go through there. I was wondering if you would try to cut over that area in preference to other areas in our State for timbering. We are not cutting all the timber in New Mexico that they can cut ?
Mr. BARKER. Oh, no. They don't need that because they are not cutting their portion on the national forest timberlands.
The CHAIRMAN. Timbering on those lands is easier, isn't it? Mr. BARKER. Yes. I am sorry that I am hard of hearing. It is an advantage some times.
Speaking as a hunter and fisherman myself and for thousands of others I can say that wilderness areas provide opportunities for the highest type of sportsmanship, recreation, and enjoyment of the great outdoors. The satisfaction of hunting, fishing, riding, hiking, and camping, in the inspiring primeval environment of wilderness areas is incomparably greater than indulging in the same activities in adjacent road-scarred areas.
If I should speak from the standpoint of multiple-use administration of the national forests for the greatest good for the greatest number in the long run, I would have to say that wilderness is indispensable. It is one, but by no means the smallest one, of the multiple uses to which the national forests are dedicated.
The 86th Congress in the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act of June 12, 1960, specifically recognized wilderness preservation as being consistent with the Forest administration's multiple-use policies.
S. 174 would guarantee permanence and stablity for the wilderness system that has developed through the years and provide strict procedures for creation of new areas, modification of boundaries, and abolition of wilderness, wild, and primitive areas. Without it the Secretary of Agriculture could, if he were so minded, wipe out the entire system with a stroke of his pen.
S. 174 would take away no privilege that any one now enjoys. It does not affect States water rights, nor does it jeopardize established grazing privileges.
Wilderness perservation inherently includes several uses. Most important, of course, is that it provides for the highest type of watershed protection in the most important watershed areas. It includes grazing regulated just as it is on all national forest lands. It includes hunting and fishing, camping, hiking and horseback riding, picture taking and nature study. It provides untrammeled areas for scientific study in a Nation where such areas are rapidly giving way to the onslaught of mechanized civilization.
In fact most wilderness areas are veritable natural history museums far surpassing anything that man can set up under a roof.
Mr. Chairman, 2 years ago the New Mexico Legislature passed a joint memorial protesting wilderness bill, S. 1123. Actually it developed that only two or three legislators had ever read the bill. But we can agree with one statement made in that memorial. I quote:
That the social and economic welfare of the State of New Mexico is best served by the present uses allowed of federally controlled land.
The uses were then, and had been for many years, characterized by six wilderness, wild and primitive areas. S. 174 would insure such continued uses which the memorial says would be best for the economic and social welfare of the State. We heartily agree.
The charge is often made that only a very few people use wilderness areas. That just is not so. Typical of such baseless charges was one made by one of the sponsors of the memorial referred to. In a public Farm and Livestock Bureau meeting he stated that statistics showed that only 3,600 persons visited the entire 82 wilderness, wild and primitive areas on the national forests each year. Of course, that is ridiculous.
The University of California has just had a biological report made of the 165,000-acre Pecos Wilderness Area in New Mexico for the National Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission. Based upon carefully prepared estimates by the U.S. Forest Service and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish the report shows that there were 8,000 visitors for 20,000 visitor-days on that area alone.
Another spurious charge is that only the very strong, hardy young people can enjoy the wilderness areas. The percentage has been placed as low as 2 or 3 percent of our adult population. I have observed many hundreds of wilderness users and I would say that only the sick and infirm and extremely old people can't enjoy it.
I have been responsible for some 250 wilderness trail riders for the American Forestry Association on twelve 11-day rides, and with that many more on other trips. These people are just average American men and women from 16 to 70 years. I've had one lady 72 and several men over 70—one 76. A few of these trail riders are experienced horsemen, some with a little experience riding, and many of them complete novices. In all my trips only three have had to leave the party because the trip was too hard for them.
Still another frequent charge is that only the rich can afford a wilderness experience. That, to use the vernacular of slang, is pure poppycock. Even these deluxe wilderness trail rides sponsored by the American Forestry Association, the Wilderness Society, and others with everything furnished, except one's bedroll, including horses, saddles, sleeping tents, food, cooks, pack outfit, packers, wranglers, guide, and a medical officer cost only $20 to $22 per day.
My hotel bill here in Washington is running more than that, and I'm not furnished a horse either.
But there are cheaper ways. A day's hike in from road's end costs nothing: Back-pack for a few days, as many do, for $1 to $1.50 per day; hikers with horse transported camp outfit $3 to $4 per person per day; horseback pack-in trips without service crew, $8 to $10, and with packer-wrangler for $11 to $12 per day. I'd say a wilderness trip is about as cheap a vacation as one can take. Certainly it is the most refreshing and mentally and spiritually satisfying.
At the Phoenix hearings some opponents of S. 1123, for want of a valid reason to protest, accused the proponents of being a unit of a large communistically inclined group seeking to overthrow the Government. That being diametrically contrary to fact was deeply resented. To his credit Hon. Barry Goldwater ordered all such statements stricken from the record.
Proponents of wilderness preservation are often accused of being selfish. With 92 percent of national forest area available for regulated commercialization, road and dam building, summer homes and developed recreation areas, I ask who is being selfish? Those who now have 92 percent of the national forest area and want the other 8 percent, or those who would preserve 8 percent of it in its majestic, God-given, pristine condition?
Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that every single argument against this streamlined wilderness preservation bill, S. 174, can be successfully refuted, and that there is no valid reason why it should not be passed by the Congress.
It seems to me that in this present-day mad race for an undefined goal we will be held in utter contempt by posterity if we fail to preserve an adequate system of unscarred, untrammeled wilderness areas. Call them wilderness, outdoor museums, or God's sanctuaries.