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Know the West

Guy Clark: Fees draw fire from two public-land users


Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Guy Clark is an avid hunter who lives in Crawford, in western Colorado. He grew up on a ranch bordering the West Elk Wilderness, a place he calls "my back yard." The Bureau of Land Management plans to impose a user fee on another of his favorite outdoor areas, the Gunnison Gorge Recreation Area.

Guy Clark: "I used to go down to (the Gunnison Gorge) fishing a lot. And now they are coming up with this user fee, and they're going to put a box at the top of a trailhead. How are they going to monitor this? They're going to have to hire more rangers.

"They want to preserve the Gorge as a pristine area, and if they start charging, they will start catering to more people. I don't want to go there and see a flushing outhouse at the trailhead and a tollbooth and a ranger in it.

"Here you've got (environmentalists) hollering to preserve this beautiful wilderness. On the other side is the BLM screaming to put up outhouses or whatever they want to do. I see the user fee funding this sort of thing."