A. Derk Beckstrand (Forum, March 29) made the erroneous statement that "travel on wilderness lands bars 95 percent of citizens from using them. Families with young children could not hope to enter." I wonder what 95 percent Mr. Beckstrand is talking about?
Well over 95 percent of people that I know have legs. Most children, elderly, and yes, even people from Utah, myself included, have legs. My family and I recently returned from a visit to the Iron Wash area in the San Rafael Swell. At the end of several dirt roads into scenic areas, we noticed signs put up by the BLM indicating that we had reached a wilderness study area. So, being the radical Utahns that we are, we parked our four-wheel drive at a pleasant campsite outside the wilderness boundary and walked into the wilderness study area.All of us walked in, including my 4-year-old daughter. You know what we found? Wilderness is great for families!
Four-year-olds have short legs, so we never walked very far, but we didn't need to. The first day, we hiked up Iron Wash about a mile to a scenic box canyon with desert varnish-stained walls and a beautiful, dry waterfall. The children enjoyed splashing in Iron Wash and our family spent quality time together. There were no automotive or city noises to confuse us and make us forget how important the Earth is to us all, and how sacred the quiet, beautiful places of the Earth can be.
The second day, we walked six miles all together, as we entered a canyon with deep, colorful walls. Both my 4-year-old daughter and my 7-year-old son got tired, as did I. My wife and I wished we could have gone to the end of the canyon, but we went far enough. We didn't reach our physical goal, but we found our spiritual goal.
Please, Mr. Beckstrand, stop, take off the labels you place on others (such as privileged, elitist, etc.), and put on your legs. Walk. Walk like a 4-year-old and discover that life is not all economics.
Even the most aggressive wilderness bill leaves 90 percent of our public lands open to development, mining, logging, etc. Let's make the other 10 percent wilderness, which is open to all.