Trucks: Take a brake

  Dear HCN,


If letter-writer George Burns (HCN, 6/9/97) wants to have the whole west rim of Hells Canyon open to him and his buddies in their trucks, he ought to just say so. Even though we still wouldn't agree, those of us who desperately cling to the last 12 miles of nonmotorized rim could respect that. But apparently due to the absence of good support for his cause of adding another six or seven miles of the rim to the 38 miles he and his truck already have, he has misrepresented some important issues:


* There is no language in the act of law that created the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area that even remotely implies an intent, as he says, "for all existing rim roads and viewpoints to remain open." It most certainly didn't say that people should be able to drive motor vehicles to viewpoints within the wilderness area.


* If the inclusion of the "primitive one-lane dirt road" within the wilderness area is a "mapping error," then Congress made the same blunder twice. After the Hells Canyon Wilderness was designated in 1975, controversy boiled over the exact location of the boundary in no uncertain terms. At that time Congress drew the road within the boundary as it had many other primitive roads now within the Hells Canyon Wilderness. There is absolutely no evidence which indicates the inclusion of this road within the wilderness was an error.


* Dr. Burns is flat wrong when he says that "elk numbers are actually increasing over all of this area." According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, elk herds are diminished both in numbers and gender ratios, and one of the primary causes is the proliferation of roads.


* The statement that "Virtually everyone in this area shares the view that the rim road should be re-opened," could only be substantiated if Dr. Burns considers "everyone" to mean everyone who agrees with him. The local opposition to the road being opened is more diverse and abundant than for any other natural resource issue I can remember in my 20 years here. It includes the Nez Perce Tribe, local ranchers, local hunters, conservationists, wildlife biologists, even a locally based company that runs motorized tours along the rim! Public opinion surveys consistently show an overwhelming majority in opposition to more roads and motorized recreation in the Hells Canyon area.


The terms "distorted and prejudiced" that Burns uses certainly do not apply to Scott Stouder's story. Your readers deserve accuracy, even in letters to the editor.


Ric Bailey


Joseph, Oregon





Ric Bailey is executive director of the Hells Canyon Preservation Council.





High Country News Classifieds
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • FEATURES DIRECTOR - HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
    High Country News, an award-winning news organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Features Director to join our editorial...
  • GENERAL MANAGER
    The Board of UYWCD seeks a new GM to manage operations & to implement our robust strategic plan. Details at www.upperyampawater.com. EOE
  • IN TUCSON, FOR SALE: A BEAUTIFUL, CLASSIC MID-CENTURY MODERN HOME
    designed by architect David Swanson in 1966. Located a block from Saguaro National Forest, yet minutes to Downtown and the UofA campus, 3706 sqft, 6...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Friends of the San Juans is seeking a new leader guide our efforts to protect and restore the San Juan Islands and the Salish...
  • 80 ACRES
    straddles North Platte Fishery, Wyoming. Legal access 2 miles off 1-80. Call 720-440-7633.
  • DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AND MARKETING
    High Country News seeks a Director of Product and Marketing to join our senior team during an exciting chapter of innovation and growth. This individual...
  • OWN A THRIVING MOUNTAIN GUIDE SERVICE.
    Eastern Sierra guide service for sale to person with vision & expertise to take it onwards. Since 1995 with USFS & NPS permits. Ideal for...
  • IMPROVED LOT
    Private road, hillside, views. Well, pad, septic, 99 sq.ft. hut. Dryland permaculture orchard. Wildlife. San Diego--long growing season
  • UNIQUE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
    Profitable off-the-grid business located 2 miles from Glacier National Park. Owner has 6 years operating experience. Seeking investor or partner for business expansion and enhancement....
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...