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Views of the national parks

October 05, 2009

Re "America needs more 'crown jewels,' " Opinion, Sept. 27

Considering national parks in terms of jobs and money generated is all well and good, but it ignores the larger issue: Human beings exist as part of an ecosystem that is rapidly being depleted and destroyed.

In addition to economic considerations, we should consider the value of clean water, unpolluted air and the diversity of the wilderness that supports us. Wilderness designation helps, but until we are willing to preserve wild land for other-than-human use, current practices of successive destruction will continue.

Carol Mathews

Santa Monica

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As a supporter of open spaces, I think Tejon Ranch is an excellent steward of its private land. It manages for crops, grazing, hunting, fishing and preservation.

There is no faster way to destroy the acreage than converting it to a national park (parking lots, visitor centers, car camping), underfunded as the system is.

Taxpayers cannot afford fair market value for 200,000-plus acres in the current economic climate, much less the cost of ongoing personnel and facilities management.

It is naive to think that the protected and wild resources of Tejon Ranch would be better managed by a federal agency. Its barbed-wire fence does a much better job.

David Diekmann

Hawthorne

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Basking in the limelight of Ken Burns' fabulous documentary on the national parks, Erica Rosenberg implies that with a sweep of the hand, we can seize more than 200,000 acres of private land for a national park.

Tejon Ranch is the wonderful wildlife area it is because the private owners have made the stewardship of that land and its ecology part of their management practice.

The wildlife-rich part of the ranch will become part of an ecological conservancy. When was the last time you saw such a demonstration of good faith by a large landholder? And the land slated for development is not critical habitat; you can view much of it from Interstate 5.

Mike Post

Winnetka

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Thanks to Rosenberg for her timely and convincing case for expanding the effort to add new parks as we approach the park system centennial in 2016.

With the centennial of John Muir's death in 2014 approaching, we should revive the fight he waged for a crown jewel that was stolen from Yosemite National Park.

Hetch Hetchy Valley, Yosemite Valley's "twin," was flooded 100 years ago. Current studies show we can restore this treasure and San Francisco can still get its water and power. As Muir said, "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread."

John Saville

Corona

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