I was asked how the rock hunters in the area felt about the Wilderness Proposals. I couldn't answer that question so I am putting this blog up to let you offer your own opinions. Perhaps your opinion will influence decisions made about the proposals. Any little bit helps......
If you are unfamiliar the proposals, you can read or download them at:
Be honest and respectful! I will not allow any slander or inappropriate language to be posted.
Kevin Lockhart of Hermosa made these comments about the proposals. He gave me permission to post them including his name.
#1. This proposal in fact and in deed discriminates against many people who presently use these areas in a respectful manner in that many will no longer be able to have access because of physical limitations due to age, disabilities etc. Many of these areas if you recall are miles back into these areas on the designated roads that already exist. It seems to me that those who would like these changes are trading the participation of the majority for that of just a few that will really be able do more than drive to an overlook and view these lands.
#2. They propose horseback and hiking into these areas but how many of the elderly people who have enjoyed agate hunting for a lifetime are set up to do this. Also, with the water sources in these areas being as scarce as it is, it will be very difficult to provide water for the horses. You could probably carry enough water for yourself but can you imagine carrying enough for your horse as well. Then when you get to the agate bed what are you going to tie a horse to? There are not a lot of trees in these areas. They make all this sound so easy but it is not and it takes alot of equipment and money to be able to accomplish an outing like this. So does this proposal state that if you are 70 years old and cannot walk 3 to 5 miles back into the area where you want to hunt agates and carry the water you would need on a hot summer day, you will need to go and buy a horse, pickup, trailer and rent pasture to support the horse. All this so that the very few who can afford this can have it all to themselves.
#3. We all pay taxes to support this land but this is an effort to only allow a minority to take over the use. And they are doing all this in the name of preservation. I don't believe that any of the responsible agate hunters or responsible game hunters or photographers or just the people who wish to witness the beauty of the sun rises and sun sets of the prairie are harming these lands at all. I do believe that their has been some damage done by the ATV's and the four wheel drive groups that entered these areas. I feel that there are other measures that can be put into place to stop this kind of abuse and I think that it must be stopped. I don't enjoy seeing roads going up over every hill out there. So I am sympathetic to this aspect. I personally have not seen as much damage as what is being reported although I have seen some. My concern is that the Forest Service has not exhausted all avenues to stopping the abuses prior to making a complete motorized wheel travel closure order.
Anne I could go on for quite some time on this issue but I think you probably get the point that I am trying to make here. I have seen this happen in Montana with the same initial approaches which leads people to believe that they will be able to continue on as usual but then a couple years down the road the rules change again and more restrictions are imposed. Does this sound familiar? i.e. the 1868 treaty. I believe that the occupants of this land then were decieved and manipulated back then and now I believe they are doing it to us again. Think about this for a minute. The people who pioneered this land are mostly gone now but some of them remain and if this measure is passed those people will no longer be allowed on this land just because of their physical condition, where as if they could be driven out onto the land that they worked hard on they would be able to reminisce the good old days.