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Topic: Recreation     Department: Letters

Bikers aren't the only bandits

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I just returned home from a long vacation to southern Arizona to find High Country News' travel issue in my mailbox. "Volunteer tourism" by Henry Ring and Craig Childs' "Secret Getaways of a BLM Groupie" were particularly well done (HCN, 3/18/13).

Thousands of volunteers give tens of thousands of hours to protect and maintain our public lands, performing vital tasks with passion and professionalism far beyond that expected from "mere" volunteers.

Childs' article highlights the vastness and untouched nature of our National Conservation Lands System. He briefly mentions how the management of that system is more flexible than the management of national parks, which has fostered local support for many national conservation areas.

But I would be remiss if I didn't call out Wayne Hare for his finger pointing when it comes to "bandit trails" developed by mountain bikers. My only problem is that these bandit trails are also being developed by hikers, equestrians, OHV riders and dirt bikers, too. Unsanctioned trails developed by any user aren't acceptable. Singling out mountain bikers is counterproductive.

Bill Harris
Montrose, Colorado

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