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Voice: Oppose more wilderness areas in California

April 23, 2002

Many Californians, myself included, are concerned about the closure of off-highway vehicle recreational areas throughout California. More and more lands that were once available for OHVs have been closed down due to a variety of reasons.

The Center for Biological Diversity's use of the Endangered Species Act to shut down the Imperial Sand Dunes is just one example of this.

Now environmental groups and Sen. Boxer are pushing for new wilderness area designations as another way to eliminate access to our public lands. This is of great concern to me because the primary effect of wilderness designation is the reduction of access, especially for recreation (the "no-mechanized transport" rule of the Wilderness Designation Act prevents even bicycle access).

These continual land closures are really a recipe for disaster. Statistics from the California Department of Parks and Recreation show that the actual acreage available for OHV use in California has declined by 47 percent in recent years while registration of OHVs has practically doubled.

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Squeezing more OHVs onto less land can only result in an increase in illegal off-road activities in areas not designated for motorized recreational use as well as increased impacts in legal OHV areas.

This most extreme of land designation should not be taken lightly. Wilderness has real, long-term consequences for California. Please contact your representatives and ask that they oppose any new wilderness area designations.

An online petition has been created to oppose more wilderness areas. Please take a moment to sign it: www.petitiononline.com/boxer/petition.html

JON CROWLEY JR.

Shingle Springs

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