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Letters 4/13-4/20


The Kindness of Strangers

Is there some public way I can thank the person who makes the knitted hats for the ducks that sit with Art on the corner of Wall and Franklin? I just want them to know when I see the knitted hats, they just make my day!!! I'd love to donate some yarn or something to this wonderful person!!! Thank you!!!

~Mary Brooks

In response to "Mountain Bikers Seek Changes to 1964 Wilderness Act " (4/7)

First, thanks for covering the Sustainable Trails Coalition (STC) and the issue of mountain bike access in wilderness designated areas. I think there is a significant inaccuracy in the article.  STC does NOT seek to change the 1964 Wilderness Act. Bicycles were allowed in Wilderness until the late 1970s and early 1980s where a series of decisions by the Forest Service, under pressure from some environmental groups, effectively banned bikes in wilderness.  

STC's aims, to quote Ted Stroll (STC founder), are pretty simple:

The Sustainable Trails Coalition's proposal is modest. It would not permit mountain biking or walking with a baby stroller everywhere. Instead, local land managers would be given the discretion to allow forms of human-powered travel where they believe it's appropriate. 

In short, STC aims to clarify the term "Mechanized Transport" to mean powered by a non-living thing (the STC and I believe this was the original interpretation based on the Congressional Record) and to allow regional land managers to make the call whether to allow bikes.

I can see how you came up with the headline, but I believe it is misleading in light of the actual facts.  

~Mike Bishop

In response to "Mountain Bikers Seek Changes to 1964 Wilderness Act " (4/7)

Thanks for your coverage of the mountain bikers trying to weaken the 1964 Wilderness Act to allow bikes in all Wildernesses in the country.

[Below] is a group sign-on letter from over 100 conservation organizations from around the country opposing this effort:

Dear Member of Congress,

The 115 undersigned organizations urge you to reject calls to amend the Wilderness Act to allow for the use of mountain bikes in designated Wilderness.

As you may know, some mountain bikers and a mountain biking organization, the Sustainable Trails Coalition, have announced its intention to have legislation introduced in Congress to amend the Wilderness Act to allow mountain bikes in units of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The undersigned organizations strongly urge you to oppose this effort.

These mountain bikers erroneously claim that mountain bikes were allowed in Wilderness until 1984, but then banned administratively by the U.S. Forest Service. This claim is simply not true.

The 1964 Wilderness Act (36 U.S.C. 1131-1136) banned all types of bicycles as well as all other forms of mechanical transportation in designated Wilderness. Section 4(c) of that act states, "[T]here shall be...no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area." (emphasis added).

Furthermore, the Congress stated the purpose of the Wilderness Act was, in part, to protect these areas from "expanding settlement and growing mechanization...." (emphasis added) (Wilderness Act, Section 2[a].)

For over a half century, the Wilderness Act has protected wilderness areas designated by Congress from mechanization and mechanical transport, even if no motors were involved with such activities. This has meant, as Congress intended, that Wildernesses have been kept free from bicycles and other types of mechanization and mechanical transport. The undersigned believe that this protection has served our Nation well, and that the "benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" would be forever lost by allowing mechanized transport in these areas.

Please oppose attempts to weaken the Wilderness Act and wilderness protections by allowing bicycles in Wilderness.

Idaho Environmental Council • Idaho Rivers United • Kentucky Heartwood • Kettle Range Conservation Group • Klamath Forest Alliance • Kootenai Environmental Alliance • Lands Council • Massachusetts Forest Watch • Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy • Mountain Bikers for Wilderness • New Mexico Wilderness Alliance • North Cascades Conservation Council • North Fork Preservation Association • Northeast Wilderness Trust • Olympic Park Associates • Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) • Quiet Use Coalition • RESTORE: The North Woods • Rewilding Institute • River Runners for Wilderness San Juan Citizens Alliance • Save America's Forests • Save Our Canyons • Save Our Sky Blue Waters • Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association • Scholarly Brass Editions • Selkirk Conservation Alliance • Selway-Pintler Wilderness Back Country Horsemen • Sequoia ForestKeeper • Shawnee Forest Sentinels • Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute • Sleeping Bear Naturally • South Florida Wildlands Association • Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment • Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance • Speak Up for Wildlife Foundation • Swan View Coalition • Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning • Tennessee Heartwood • Tuleyome • Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition • Walden Woods Project • Wasatch Mountain Club • Western Lands Project • Western Watersheds Project • Western Wildlife Conservancy • White Mountain Conservation League • Wild Connections • Wild Utah Project • Wild Virginia • Wild Wilderness • WildEarth Guardians • Wilderness Watch • et al.

~Kevin Proescholdt

Conservation Director

Wilderness Watch

Pondering Potholes

Here's an idea.  Remember barn raising?  Neither do I, but the notion of neighbors coming together to solve a problem has sort of an "American Spirit" sort of ring to it.

We don't need to repave our streets today...but there are some really bad...unacceptable and embarrassing (for a city like Bend) potholes that if we came together we could probably fix in a day (or two or three).  

How about organizing crews of volunteers to flush/wash out the worst potholes with water, then fill them with cement? The fire department could blast them with water...a cement truck could come after and fill the holes with cement and other volunteers could smooth the goo and place traffic cones around the patches until the cement dries.

The details of cost and logistics could be worked out. On a smaller scale this could be done out of pickup trucks with water tubs and wheelbarrows.  At least for the worst ones.

I'm betting that 90 percent of the really bad potholes could be vastly improved through a community wide volunteer effort and a modest investment.

~Chuck Keers

Chuck ~ Thank you for your letter about a volunteer solution to Bend's pothole problem. City Council meetings are the first and third Wednesday of the month and open to the public. Citizen repair may present certain legal issues, but it shows creative thinking. Please have a cup of coffee on us. Pick up your Palate Gift Card at the Source Weekly office.

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