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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Letters

The land less traveled

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Your May 24 cover story "Accidental Wilderness" was for me a catalog of former or current projects I have worked on as an environmental consultant. The map on page 15 showing select Department of Defense and Energy Department sites around the West identified seven facilities where I have worked or visited as a consultant, chief among them being Hanford and the Idaho National Laboratory.

I have long noted that the rangelands at both of these sites are considerably healthier than the surrounding overgrazed public and private lands. When driving across southern Idaho as I frequently do, I will often take the longer route through the INL because I enjoy the geology and ecosystem more than the faster route through the more developed landscapes along I-84. Author David Wolman could have toned down some of the hyperbolic language, but otherwise this was a great piece that demonstrates that wild places can often heal themselves if they are just left alone, whether intentionally or otherwise.

Patrick N. Naylor
Boise, Idaho

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