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Protecting Tortoises

May 03, 1999

"It's a big desert," says Ft. Irwin's Col. Tim Reischl ("Army's Plans for Bigger Base Pit Tank vs. Turtle," April 19). "It's a finite desert" would have been a truer statement.

The biggest menace not only to the desert tortoise but also to humans who might like to enjoy an outdoor panorama are the legions of off-highway vehicle drivers who can turn a desert ecosystem into a dust bowl in a few seasons. Remarkably, this is permitted by the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency charged with administering public lands.

OHV license fees actually support a lobby that is dedicated to defeating any legislation that would limit this destructive "hobby." The Army's tanks and bullets can't begin to compare with the destruction caused every weekend by OHV recreation.

DOUGLAS PARHAM

Palmdale

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