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Slow down all the herds

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Dear HCN,

The problem with George Wuerthner's comments in a recent issue (HCN, 3/24/94) is that while he appears to be correct in his criticism of the extractive industries, in reality he's about 10 percent correct and 90 percent missing the point.

Our choices lie not between urban subdivisions and traditional grazing. Nobody's talking about subdividing public lands. Our choices are between the exploding boom in recreationalist use and the past abuses of mining, grazing and timbering. Sure, cows and miners have damaged the fragile desert landscapes down here in southern Utah, but controlling these traditional users is now taking a back seat to managing this new breed of fun-hog.

Come on down and experience April in Moab, Mr. Wuerthner. Tens of thousands of bikers, hikers, jeepers, spring-breakers, lycra-clad yuppies, foreign tourists and other refugees from the urban world are all following the encouragement of the guidebook authors, Outside and Sierra magazines, our own travel agents, and even HCN's recent "welcome" to El Pinacate. It ain't pretty.

The hope isn't in trying to do away with both subdivisions and cows. The hope is that we can slow down all of the thundering herds. The cows, the subdividers and the people. It's not as he says, "... for every acre of land paved ... there are 10,000 being plowed up, cut up or pounded to death under the hooves of livestock." But rather, for every acre of land pristine, there are 10,000 being bicycled, jeeped, floated and otherwise stomped on under the hooves of the human hordes.

Charlie Peterson

Moab, Utah

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