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BACK-COUNTRY STORY WAS SLANTED

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I must take exception to Sunday's article regarding back-country tourism. Many of the statements are plainly untrue, and the whole tone of the article is antagonistic toward back-country users and Westerners alike. I was amazed that the Deseret News would print an article about southeastern Utah that was written by the New York Times News Service.

The eastern view is that, like Third World nations, we are not capable of managing our own resources and are bound to destroy them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though there are many controversial issues in Utah's back country, we don't need opinions or alarmist rhetoric from New York to solve them.Particularly distressing are the ridiculous claims of damage from users. The claim that mountain bikes cause as much damage as strip mines is so ludicrous that it calls into question the editorial integrity of your paper. The fact is that Forest Service studies have shown that mountain bikes do no more damage than hikers and are the least likely of any back-country user (hikers included) to leave behind refuse. I encourage you to be more careful in selecting articles. It you choose to print an article with an environmentalist slant, at least let a Utahn write it.

Kurt Gammill

Layton