A few days ago your paper ran a column indicating the need for Congress to pass a wilderness bill. I agree that this needs to be done. However, I do not agree with some of your statements.

The 5.7 million-acre wilderness proposal by Rep. Hinchey, D-N.Y. is certainly deserving of great merit and I give it my full support. It amounts to about 10 percent of Utah lands. The predominant religion in this state encourages members to set aside 10 percent of their earnings for a number of worthwhile programs. It would be very reasonable to set aside at least that same amount of unspoiled land as wilderness.Rep. Orton's proposal for 1.2 million acres of wilderness is short-sighted and represents a total land area of less than 1,900 square miles. It does not reflect the opinion of the majority of Utahns who feel that the wilderness designation of an area makes it more appealing to visit. His recommendation for 1.8 million acres as "national conservation areas" is virtually meaningless and simply a smoke screen. These areas would remain open to widespread development such as mining, roads and grazing.

Hopefully Congress will choose neither Orton's nor the BLM's proposal. There is no reason that the needs of man should necessitate the destruction of nature. There are already more than enough places available in this state to suit every outdoor interest imaginable. The sites available for peace and quiet and solitude are few and far between.

We need to be aware that the areas that we set aside now for wilderness will be the last ones ever so designated. Once a region has been open for development, there is absolutely no way to convert it back to wilderness. Let's look past the present and preserve something meaningful for future generations.

Peter K. Sorensen

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Salt Lake City

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