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Feinstein's Desert Protection Bill

March 19, 1994

* What a relief to read your editorial "Troubled Journey for Desert Protection" (March 6). Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) is doing an honorable service to the people of California and the world. Not only does she have the vision to make our cities safer by supporting assault weapons legislation, she also recognizes the need to provide the people of California safe places to take our families for rejuvenation.

The arguments to diminish this legislation are demeaning. Why not protect significant natural resources from degradation and destructive uses? National parks are still America's favorite place to take families on vacation. The people who like to ride motorcycles and shoot guns ruin the wilderness experience for the rest of us. Let them have their off-road vehicle parks and hunting preserves and let the rest of us have a safe haven to take our children.

JAN LAUDISE

North Hollywood

* Yes, desert protection will suffer--if this bill passes and flocks of tourists roam over it under National Park Service management. Tourist facilities will be built and tour buses will race over the area, probably on improved roads. New sites will be provided for campers to trample and litter with trash.

You lament Feinstein's amendment to the bill for the deletion of 290,000 acres of land from the proposed park which contain "historical sites, Native American petroglyphs, and pristine habitat. . . ." Thanks for the compliment. Most of the land in question is privately owned. It is not pristine, but it is obviously in good condition. I own some of that land. It's not for sale, and acquisition by condemnation will spell political suicide to those who instigate it.

Then you lament the effects of amendments that would downgrade some parcels to a national hunting preserve, "permitting hunting and tourism." I don't allow hunting on my land, so I'm protecting it better now than the National Park Service would. And tourism is what supporters of the bill say will make up for the economic loss of terminating mining and grazing in the area. It won't, of course.

GEORGE ROHRER

Hermosa Beach

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