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They Must Go Down to the Sea

September 07, 1986

The article on the Salton Sea that appeared in the View section on Aug. 25 ("Park Ranger Enjoys Hot Time at Salty Resort" by Ann Japenga) stirred more than a little resentment among local readers. The writer chose to describe the sea in its most negative context and gave readers very little indication that there might be a more pleasant aspect of life and recreation at the Salton Sea. People really do live here and like it here for many readable and verifiable reasons. Unfortunately we rarely get the public forum to expound on the virtues of our area.

A visit to the Salton Sea is not a conventional tourist hop. The small amount of development in terms of freeways, restaurants and motels is proportional to the large amounts of wildlife, unpolluted air and miles-wide landscapes. August is not our prime tourist season. It is hot--in fact this year we're experiencing record highs in temperature and humidity. Assessing the Salton Sea in August is as objective as assessing Lake Tahoe during a snowstorm: It's not a permanent condition.

Despite the heat many people choose to visit the sea in summer. Fishing off the rocks on a moonlit night, waiting for the silvery croakers to bite is pure magic. Feeling the remarkable thump of a hard-hitting corvina and coaxing the fighter in to shore is an experience few people forget. Great blue herons, black-necked stilts and snowy egrets performing their territorial displays and foraging allow observers to get surprisingly close--a real treat for bird watchers and photographers. The writer of the article obviously did not seek any of these experiences. Rather she reports on the oppressive heat, the bad smell, the lack of tourist facilities.

The Salton Sea experience might not be everyone's dream vacation, but it's definitely got more to offer than the author of the article reports.

BARBARA ANGERSBACH

North Shore, Calif.

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