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Horse Trips? Whoa!

August 13, 2000

In "High Sierra by Horseback" (July 30), author Dan Blackburn eloquently describes the magic of the wilderness. Unfortunately, he does not mention that this magic is being compromised by the use of livestock in the wilderness.

Though he does mention "stripped vegetation, eroded grassy areas and reduced water purity," he seems to treat these as problems of the past, before pack trains were limited to 15 people. However, even at this reduced size, the trips threaten the delicate wilderness ecosystems.

It would be in the best interest of such ecosystems to change the U.S. Forest Service policy that allows stock into wilderness areas, but too many private interests prevent that. Trips involving livestock bring people into areas they would otherwise not visit. However, I believe that if those people chose to walk and carry their supplies on their backs, their experience would be much more rewarding, as well as gentler to the environment.

PAUL LEVINE

Mammoth Lakes

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