Advice from Jim Stiles

  Dear HCN,

I'd like to respond to William Corcoran's attack on guidebook critics like myself (HCN, 10/2/95). Mr. Corcoran says I should spend more of my energy on Planned Parenthood "instead of preaching perfection to an imperfect world" and in part he's right. The fact is, there are just too damn many people out there. Too many people in one special, fragile, beautiful canyon or mountain meadow will ruin it, no matter how pure their intentions might be or how much money they send to their favorite environmental group.

I'm not "preaching perfection," I'm trying (probably hopelessly) to protect what's left of perfection ... the dwindling, pristine lands of the West. That's the only perfection I am interested in. Mr. Corcoran and his ilk should take a trip to southeast Utah sometime and see what 100,000 bicyclists per year have done to the lands around Moab in just the last decade.

Whether it's too many cows or too many well-meaning but unimaginative guidebook-inspired hikers, those impacts will ultimately destroy the very land people like Mr. Corcoran claim to love. But what disturbs me most about the "herd animal" instinct is the fact that cows don't know any better ...

Guidebook devotees should.

Jim Stiles

Moab, Utah

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