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Recreational Fees Tame Wilderness Areas

April 21, 2002

Three cheers for John Balzar's April 17 commentary, "Charging to the End of Paradise," protesting the Bush administration's plans to make permanent the charging of "recreational" fees to visit any wilderness area that is maintained by the U.S. Forest Service. Not enough people are aware of this encroachment on the free use of public land, which we have already paid to buy and maintain, and of the rapid commercialization that goes along with fee-for-use.

Yes, there are many more important issues to be concerned about, issues dealing with our security, health, finances and the proliferation of violence at home and abroad, but ready access to wilderness sites for recreation and enjoyment of nature is of real value to all of us.

Those who care about the wilderness will be taking note of the June 15 national protest date. Will the Bush administration be listening?

Bill Hessell

Culver City

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