May 27, 2011 in Letters, Opinion

Enough wilderness already

 

I am against more wilderness designation. Our public lands should provide sustainable jobs as well as recreation for the largest segment of the public.

We can utilize our public land while protecting and enhancing it for future generations.

When the Wilderness Act was enacted in 1964 “for the permanent good of the WHOLE (my emphasis) people, and for other purposes,” Congress envisioned about 12 million acres would ultimately be designated. There are now 109,512,959 acres (Wilderness Statistics Report), a land mass larger than California.

Washington has 31 wilderness areas amounting to 4,462,493 acres and 10 percent of the land in our state, making us one of the top five states with the most wilderness. There is no benefit to the county or state from the designation. It moves the control of public land away from the public to Washington, D.C., and eliminates traditional uses. It discriminates against the majority of our population who lack the mobility, health or stamina to access these lands that they own. Wilderness designation has gone from an act for the permanent good of the whole people, to an accumulation of public land controlled by a select few. Please speak out and keep public lands public.

Johnna Exner

Curlew, Wash.


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