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Balancing Ecology With Recreation

April 01, 2002

Re "U.S. Seeks to Reopen Area to Off-Roaders," March 28: The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in Glamis was closed as the result of a collusive lawsuit between the environmental groups and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, in which the BLM allowed judgment to be taken against it without any evidence the off-roaders were actually harming the milkvetch plant. According to the BLM's own study, the milkvetch is more abundant now that it was when it was first quantified in the late 1970s. This is seldom mentioned, yet this was the purported basis for the closure.

I love Bill Clinton, I love the environment and I am a ticket-voting Democrat who happens to responsibly use the dunes. I am also an attorney who has studied and carefully followed (as an outside observer) the "closure suit" filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club. Your article had the same shrill and unbalanced approach to public land-use issues and majority rights as that possessed by the special interest groups that filed the suit in the first place.

Until I got involved in this matter, I thought only the "gun nut" and militant antiabortion crowd had such singular disregard for the rights of others in the respective discourses they claim as their prerogative. This debate regarding land we all own should be governed by evidence and balance and not by who has the loudest rhetoric. I hate to admit it, but the man I voted against (G.W. Bush) is the one who allowed these principles to prevail.

Ernest P. Algorri



Signs of the vernal equinox in two to three years: Flocks of the macho-turbo snowmobile/SUV/dunebuggy convertibles leave Yellowstone National Park for the BLM's Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in Southern California, stopping along the way for refueling in the newly created Escalante Oil Fields and Recreation Area in the BLM's Utah territory. All on land we once thought safe for future generations.

Bob Siebert


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