Hikers aren't a herd

  Dear HCN,


"Fiddling while Rome burns' should have been the subtitle of Christopher Smith's stories concerning guidebooks and wilderness usage (HCN, 9/4/95). It's sad to see wilderness advocates decrying people visiting the Colorado Plateau while the Utah congressional delegation legislates Utah wilderness out of existence.


Hiking in the Swell with Steve Allen persuaded me to become an activist for Utah wilderness. Why sneer at those who visit, guidebook in hand, and return home convinced of the necessity of preserving these lands? These are public lands, at least for now, and the public has a right to know about them. It isn't "massive groups of uncreative herd animals' but the people Utah has sent to Congress who will harm Chimney Canyon and its like.


Jim Stiles' version of wilderness ubermensch pursuing adventure unhampered by guidebooks is just more Western myth. If Stiles wants to protect wild places, he should donate his considerable gifts to Planned Parenthood instead of preaching perfection to an imperfect world. As to the "herd animals' crack, Stiles might recall the hateful final commandment in Animal Farm: "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."


William Corcoran


Culver City, California





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