Seniors reject more wilderness access

  Erik Schultz’s piece about his tragic fall, which left him a paraplegic and unable to savor the wilderness, makes a (HCN, 12/12/05: Wheelchairs and wilderness can coexist). Why? If it’s a choice between personal satisfaction and wilderness protection, we must choose wilderness.

Bob Marshall, Ed Abbey, Aldo Leopold — all considered mechanization of wild nature anathema to the wilderness. If government policy makes an exception for Erik Schultz, then it should make an exception for me because I am old and can no longer walk unassisted. Though I had no great injury to take me out of up-close wilderness enjoyment, I have lost my "wheels" to aging and a suspect circulatory system.

But though I can no longer walk well enough for a wilderness experience, I still want strict rules about motorized (even electrified) rigs.

More exceptions for the handicapped, the aged, the culturally and socially impaired, the inner city and golden oldie busloads — it’s too much and will lead to further fragmentation of the wilderness. The wilderness is more important than me and my wants. It belongs to the ages.

So let those of us who are no longer physically able to get within the wilderness itself, learn to appreciate it anyway, way off in the purple distance, properly untouchable.

It has meaning and values apart from the desires of man.

David Tillotson
Lakemills, Wisconsin

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