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CITY OF ELY,
Ely, Minn., February 20, 1961. Hon. CLINTON P. ANDERSON, U.S. Senator, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR ANDERSON : Your Senate bill, S. 174, has been brought to my attention only recently. While I am in accord with the principles of a wilderness area, I feel there is no need for the removal of resorts from that portion of the area which is not suitable for canoeing, It is my belief, based on years of observation and study, that the present boundaries of the Boundary Waters. Canoe Area were not realistically established. Many hundreds of thousands of acres have been included which are not used by more than just a very small percentage of the canoeists. Yet, it is in this portion of the wilderness where: the Government has spent a very substantial amount of money to buy up. privately owned resorts and summer homes. It is in this same area where the Government is still trying to force out the remaining few private property owners.
Since the imposition of the flying ban and the acquisition program, Ely has lost 26 resorts, with more than 900 accommodations. The annual payroll loss resulting therefrom is in excess of one-half million dollars, and more than 2 million trade dollars have been lost to our community each year. You can imagine what such a loss means to a community of 6,000 people, I am sure.
The State of Minnesota, according to figures recently released, has increased the number of its resorts from 2,713 in 1954 to 3,493 in 1960, a 29 percent increase. During this same period, Ely has suffered the loss of 26 resorts, a 30 percent decrease. Without the restrictions imposed by the Government, Ely also certainly would have exceeded the State average, and would not now have. to be considered a distressed area.
We have, within 12 miles of Ely, a substantial nickel-copper deposit of commercial grade. International Nickel' requested from the Government a longterm lease for development. The Secretary of Interior refused to grant such a lease, however, because of the adverse effect this mining development might have on the wilderness area. Oddly enough, the properties in which they were interested lie almost wholly outside the boundaries of the canoe area. The development of this resource could mean the employment of upward of 2,000 men, which would substantially relieve the unemployment situation now plaguing the Iron Range.
I am deeply concerned about the economic future of this community, unless we can get some of the unfair and unrealistic restrictions removed. I can see no justification for setting aside hundreds of thousands of acres for the exclusive use of canoeists who cannot and will not use it. Perhaps there is an ulterior motive, or some other use is intended for the area. I cannot bring myself to believe that the “friends of the wilderness" are so selfish as to want to set aside areas that are not and never will be used to any appreciable extent by canoeists. The Canadians are making their portion of the Quetico-Superior: area accessible to all-why should the United States deny access to all but a very few? The people of the United States who are not canoeists certainly are. as entitled to enjoy the beauties and other benefits of the wilderness as are the relatively few canoeists.
With the ever-increasing use of recreational facilities and the demand for resort accommodations, we should be expanding our facilities, Instead, the Government is spending tax money to remove resort property from the tax rolls: and creating more unemployment. Because of the threat of the boundaries of the canoe area being extended in the future, as has been done in the past, we cannot interest anyone in building new resorts to replace those bought by the Government. For the same reason, many of the resort owners will not invest additional capital to improve or increase the capacity of their resorts.
I suggest that legislation be delayed until such time as a committee can visit our area and see for themselves what the true situation is. The proponents of a wilderness area have spent millions of dollars for propaganda, muchof which is not only distortion of the facts but actual misrepresentation. We have had no such money to counteract this “brainwashing." We can only ask, as we have in the past, that a group of Senators and Representatives come to Ely and give us an opportunity to show them the tremendous area involved and what little use is made of much of it. If such a visitation is possible, I will be glad to make the necessary arrangements here upon receiving word from you..
I would like to add that I am opposed to any wilderness legislation that in*cludes condemnation, either in a wilderness bill or as a part of any appropriation. In fact, I am opposed to any further acquisition of private property until the extent of utilization of the area has been clearly defined and the boundaries of a true canoe country realistically reestablished. The people of this community will support a wilderness bill that is fair and equitable. They will continue to object to any legislation that is unfair, discriminatory, and detrimental to our economy. Sincerely yours,
J. P. GRAHEK, M.D., Mayor.
SALT RIVER PROJECT,
Phoenix, Ariz., February 28, 1961. Hon. CLINTON P. ANDERSON, Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR ANDERSON : I deeply regret the fact I am unable to appear personally before the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs in this matter; however, I believe my letter will adequately express the strong feeling of the Salt River Valley. Water Users' Association in regard to the proposed legislation (S. 174) now under consideration.
As you may know, the SRVWUA represents 250,000 acres and more than 110,000 landowners as well as acting as agent of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in the operation of the Salt River project.
Although the Salt River project has a very definite interest in the economy of the entire State of Arizona which could be affected by the imposition of wilderness areas on our public lands, we are directly and particularly concerned in preventing the establishment of wilderness areas in the 13,000 square miles which constitute the watershed of the Salt River project. We are firm in our belief that the public lands of this State should be managed on the multiple-use principle under which the economic life of the West has progressed for so many years. We are further convinced that multiple-use of public lands is conducive to optimum water production so vital to the welfare and economy of central Arizona.
Within the memory of a few people still living, this valley in which we live was a barren desert, flooded occasionally by huge spring torrents from the mountainous country which drains into the Salt and Verde Rivers. The flow of the rivers was so unpredictable that a stable economy was an impossibility ; but, with the passage of the Federal Reclamation Act and the construction of Theodore Roosevelt Dam to control the floods and provide a stable, dependable water supply, this valley began to prosper.
With the construction of Theodore Roosevelt Dam, the Federal Government withdrew from entry thousands of acres of forest lands to assure the people that there would be no interference with the flow of water into the Salt River project reservoir system. It is particularly in connection with these public lands that the Salt River project, on behalf of the people who reside in this area, strongly objects to the installation of wilderness areas.
Over a half million people and 500,000 acres of agricultural lands, both within and without the boundaries of the Salt River project, are directly dependent upon the flow of the Salt and Verde Rivers into this valley area.
It is my firm belief, based upon present experiments and the opinion of experts, that the imposition of wilderness areas on this watershed would further diminish the already short water supply for central Arizona.
In summary, we believe this legislation should be defeated for the following reasons:
1. It is contrary to the multiple-use principle so long followed in the operation of public lands throughout the West and the public lands comprising the watershed of the Salt River project.
2. It prevents the maximum use of forest areas for recreational purposes and limits such wilderness areas to a small minority.
3. It would be detrimental to the State of Arizona by interfering with the lumber industry, the cattle industry, the mining industry, the agriculture industry, and, last but not least, the domestic water supply of the city of
Phoenix and other valley towns. The so-called Phoenix area of our State is completely dependent upon the water supply of the Salt River watershed. Rather than attempt to provide you with all the statistics showing the importance of water to our area and the detrimental effects of any interference with our water supply, I have taken the privilege of attaching to this letter as an exhibit a recently published booklet entitled "The Phoenix Story: An Adventure in Reclamation.". By way of prose, pictures, and graphs, this booklet will more clearly illustrate the importance of water in this desert valley and the unwillingness of our people to approve legislation which would in any way interfere with the management of our watershed. Sincerely,
VICTOR I. CORBELL, President.
FEDERATION OF WESTERN OUTDOOR CLUBS,
West Covina, Calif., February 25, 1961. Senator CLINTON P. ANDERSON, Chairman, Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR ANDERSON : The Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, in behalf of their 30,000-plus members, expresses their appreciation to you for introducing the wilderness bill, S. 174. Your keen interest in the wise management of our nation's resources is truly demonstrated by this farsighted legislation. The federation supports you in your sincere efforts to create a wilderness preservation system.
The Federation is gratified to note from the geographical distribution of your cosponsors that the desire to create a wilderness system is nationwide.
At our 1960 convention at Camp Parsons, Wash., the Federation unanimously passed the following resolution :
RESOLUTION 1-REAFFIRMATION OF POLICY
ty of legislative protectio and therefore recommend that a bill embodying the essence of S. 1123 of the 8th Congress for the purpose of establishing a national wilderness preservation system bé reintroduced in the next session of Congress and, furthermore, that early favorable action
on it be urged. We request that this be made a part of the record. Respectfully yours,
ARTHUR B. JOHNSON, President.
STATEMENT OF THE PUBLIC LANDS COMMITTEE, WESTERN OIL & GAS ASSOCIATION,
HENRY W. WRIGHT, SECRETARY We are opposed to enactment of $. 174, or any other wilderness legislation, prior to public review of the National Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission's final report. It is our understanding that the report scheduled for release early in 1962 will include an objective appraisal of the place of wilderness and wild areas in the national pattern of outdoor recreation in the United States.
Laurance S. Rockefeller, Commission Chairman, testifying before the House Appropriations Committee on January 21, 1960, emphasized the importance of the Commission's investigations with respect to the national controversy over the Nation's wilderness needs by stating :
"The longstanding controversy over the extent and kind of national wilderness supply needed to satisfy the needs of this and future generations highlights the need for a careful and objective study by the Commission of the problems and issues involved.
"The study planned should assist in reaching understanding and decision on such basic problems as (1) appropriate standards for measuring the character and quality of wilderness lands; (2) the type and amount of use compatible with wilderness statutes; (3) the competitive ranking of alternative uses, both recreation and other; and (4) the quantity of wilderness land required.”
The progress report of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission, dated January 1961, pages 27 through 29, refers to the study of wilderness being made in part as follows:
“This study is intended to provide the Commission with an objective appraisal of the place of wilderness and wild areas in the national pattern of outdoor recreation in the United States. The study has been in progress for several months under a contract with the Wildland Research Center at the University of California. It is scheduled for completion in the spring of 1961.”
"Problems of wilderness preservation are so diverse in nature, extent, and complexity that it has been necessary to formulate the questions aimed at eliciting pertinent information. This information is now being assembled from Federal and State agencies, from qualified authorities in fields of natural resource management, and from library research. The data will be analyzed and reported in a series of special reports, prepared by recognized experts on such topics as fire control, ecological succession, wildlife management problems, timber utilization, mining and mineral claims, insect epidemics, grazing, water impoundments, and the effects of increasing recreation use of wilderness areas.
"The important task remaining is to assemble, integrate, interpret, and analyze the large amount of data being collected and to incorporate the pertinent findings into a useful report for the Commission."
Two and one-half million dollars were appropriated by Public Law 85–470 to finance the Commission's 3-year investigation. In addition, the National Park Service and the Forest Service have spent more than $3 million in 1960-61 to finance similar investigations. In the last 2 years, $6,400,000 in Federal money has been spent for recreation planning including wilderness needs. This does not include expenditures by other Federal agencies such as the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation.
These costly investigations should be concluded prior to the adoption of any wilderness legislation. Commonsense and fiscal policy demand that the public be given an opportunity to review the findings, which could well show a need for less wilderness in America than is called for in S. 174.
The National Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission has asked for additional time in which to make its final report and recommendations. This country's present wilderness assets will not be destroyed in the ensuing 9- to 12-month period required by the Commission to complete its task. The Federal agencies now administering the more than 13 million acres of Federal wild and wilderness lands, can be counted on to protect their present status during this short period despite fears of wilderness proponents to the contrary.
If as a result of the investigations above referred to it appears necessary to enact some form of wilderness legislation, we would suggest that certain basic provisions be changed from those set forth in S. 174. Congress should determine what lands are to be classified as wilderness rather than being required to disapprove executive department nominations by joint resolution, as is the case in S. 174. We believe that former Senator Joseph O'Mahoney was correct when he urged Congress to assume its proper responsibility for administration of the public lands. He believed that Congress, in exercising veto power only over executive department recommendations as to those lands to be included in a national wilderness system, was disregarding and delegating away the powers granted to it by article I of the Constitution. Senator O'Mahoney feared that Congress would be “* * * giving a power to unknown officials in the departments to denominate as wilderness, lands that might be necessary for the economic fate or the defense fate of the United States.” The Senator was right. Congress has the continuity of representation which is lacking in a majority of the executive departments. We regard Members of the Senate and House as our representatives and look to them, rather than to a bureaucracy, for responsible administration of our public lands and their resources.
We believe that Senator O'Mahoney's description of S. 1123 in the 86th Congress applies equally to S. 174. You will recall his statement that S. 1123 "* * * is one of those bills using the device of wonderful words, standing for some generally accepted idea-motherhood, patriotism, conservation—but lacking any definition of what is meant.”
We do not deny that there may prove to be a need for statutory preservation of certain areas as wilderness. But let us wait until the highly competent investigations now underway are concluded so that we can properly determine our needs. Then, if necessary, let us seek legislation which recognizes the many beneficial uses of the lands which otherwise might be unnecessarily locked up should s. 174 be enacted at this time.
We urge you to postpone consideration of this bill.
NORTHWEST MINING ASSOCIATION,
Spokane, Wash., February 23, 1961. Hon. CLINTON P. ANDERSON, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR ANĐERSON : You have invited statements with reference to the wilderness bill, S. 174.
The Northwest Mining Association is strenuously opposed to this bill, which is an unfair att pt to set aside huge areas of land for the benefit of only a few hundred people.
The bill would, including national parks and monuments, freeze nearly 57 million acres, or more than 88,000 square miles, for recreation purposes for the very few who have the physical stamina or the wealth to take advantage of it.
Would you be willing to set aside 57 million acres for the tennis players of America ? Yet, there must be many more of these than there are persons capable of penetrating a wilderness.
Would you be wiling to set aside 57 million acres as an exclusive area to be enjoyed by the trapshooters of America ? Yet, even in this relatively limited field of interest, there must be more persons interested than there are in exploring the wilderness.
As a matter of fact, the wilderness bill is one of the most selfish, grasping, special-interest bills that has ever been presented to the Congress.
Hundreds of thousands of people will be deprived of the use of the public domain for recreational purposes if this bill is passed. The young, the aged, those of only moderate health will not be able to penetrate the wilderness.
And, after all the gaseous idealism of the preamble, how can the operation of motorboats in a selected area in Minnesota be justified? We repeat: this is a selfish, special-interest bill. In your public remarks on this bill, you have made the following arguments :
1. You agree that benchmarks should be preserved. Are 57 million acres necessary for the preservation of natural benchmarks?
2. You argue that the wilderness is for the whole people. Have you any way of determining how many people would use the wilderness? It is commonsense that most people would not use the wilderness : (1) Families would hardly be likely to use it; (2) the aged would hardly be likely to use it; (3) any person who is subject to the slightest infirmity or disease would
hardly be likely to use it; (4) the wage earner could not afford to use it. A few people could, perhaps, use the wilderness :
(a) A few hardy adventurers ;
(c) The very rich sportsmen. It can be categorically denied that the wilderness will be “For the whole people.”
3. You argue that the wilderness is necessary to promote the physical fitness of the American public. How many weeks a year could the vast majority of the American people spend annually in the wilderness, even assuming they wanted to? Two weeks? Three weeks? Would it not be better to encourage moderate, year-round exercise? And to afford recreational facilities which would be available to all instead of the few ?
4. You argue that the wilderness would take up only a relatively small part of our land. Are 57 million acres of such insignificance? This area is larger than any State in the Union except eight of the largest States. Would you be willing to dedicate the area of an entire State to the recreational use of one sport?
You say the wilderness would take only one-fiftieth of our lands. Would you be willing to dedicate one-fiftieth of the gross national product as a Federal subsidy for football or baseball ?
Of course, this association is interested the mining industry. This, however, does not detract from the general considerations above. In addition, I want to point out that this bill is exceedingly unfair to the Western States. This land grab is proposed only for areas west of the Mississippi. It means that 57 million acres of potential wealth in the West will be frozen. The West, to this extent, would be turned into a huge and unproductive museum. This would constitute a tremendous obstacle to economic progress in the Western States. No prospecting, no development of mineral resources could feasibly be carried on in this huge domain. At a time when the United States is engaged in a life and death struggle to prevent domination of the world, this bill would play into the hands of our foreign enemies by discouraging discovery and pro