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Debate Over Desert Use

July 05, 1988

The letter of William Penn Mott Jr., director of the National Park Service and Robert F. Burford, director of the Bureau of Land Management (Letters, June 23) in which they describe a proposed limited transfer of land from the BLM to the National Park Service and opposition to the California Desert Protection Act proves two things: The BLM has park-quality land that should be transferred to the park service and old bureaucrats know how to take orders.

The week in which Mott talked of rationing Californians' access to national parks due to overcrowding is a poor time to say we don't need to expand those parks available to expansion.

The reasons given to not designate the east Mojave as a national park are a smoke screen. The studies of the National Park Service in 1986 say this is park-quality land that should be a national park. Even the BLM's own studies, done in 1978 for the Desert Conservation Area Plan found that its combination of scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, and natural values made it a prime candidate for consideration as a national park.

Mott and Burford talk of old men not fixing what ain't broke. We prefer the vision of Sen. Alan Cranston and Congressman Mel Levine who, in their California Desert Protection Act are saying let us provide now, while we can, for the parks and wilderness our children and their children will need in the new century.

Old men can also be men of long vision, learning from the sweeping changes the past half century have brought to the American West, and especially to the California desert. Without trying to turn back the clock of progress, it is still possible to preserve what remains.

ELDEN HUGHES

Director

California Desert

Protection League

JIM DODSON

Director

JUDY ANDERSON

Director

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