In your story "Linking of Ski Area Has Highest Priority" (Feb. 21), Pam Murphy is quoted as saying, "the ridge (San Joaquin Ridge) is currently high-use timber management land."
Ms. Murphy seems to be implying that ski development and the San Joaquin Ridge, based on "current" management, will have little visual or biological effect (as compared with the destructiveness of high-level timber management).
Ms. Murphy is correct in her implication: Road building, "clear-cutting" forests and the associated visual and biological disturbances are common to both high-level timber management and ski area development. However, Ms. Murphy is mistaken. Current Forest Service management does not allow timber harvest in the San Joaquin Ridge area.
The entire forest on San Joaquin Ridge has never had the silence of its pristine depths shattered by a commercial ax or chain saw. This area, targeted by ski developers, is one of the last uncut, dark and majestic red fir forests in the Sierra Nevada outside the protection of a national park. In fact, at its inception in 1890, Yosemite National Park's boundary included the entire San Joaquin Ridge!