Wednesday, June 07, 2023

MWA, cohorts trying to sneak wilderness into Eureka area

| June 3, 2005 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

It seems that the Montana Wilderness Association and their cohorts are trying to sneak in a new wilderness without consultation or discussion with local residents of Lincoln County. Their proposal is to make Ten Lakes a wilderness area. Their primary goal appears to be to establish and maintain exclusionary and elitist rights for their members.

Ten Lakes was identified in S-393, the Montana Study Act of 1977. One other area identified in this bill was Mount Henry which was released for multiple use in the early 90's. The direction in this legislation was to determine within five years as to its suitability for preservation and wilderness.

The legislation identifies only two options, i.e. multiple use or wilderness. They never considered the most realistic option of creating a National Recreation Area. This option will provide the best of both worlds, it retains all the intrinsic values of this beautiful area, keeps the water clean, the soil in place and at the same time provides semi-primitive recreation opportunities for hiking and camping. It will retain all the uses presently enjoyed by the people of Lincoln County such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and just plain walking the dog.

The biggest advantage of a National Recreation Area is that it will invite people to enjoy the National Forest with fewer restrictions than wilderness. Campgrounds can be maintained with fire-pits, tables and possibly primitive shelters, (i.e.) (Adirondack Shelters). Camping would be a pleasure instead of an ordeal. Campgrounds can be hardened as can trails to retain the soil in place and the water clean.

All our residents could enjoy a semi-primitive outing without wilderness type training or preparation. Their equipment could be acquired locally as few specialty items are required. The local economy would benefit from this option rather than a wilderness designation.

This is a compromise proposal which may retain the values of both wilderness advocates and multiple use proponents without sacrificing the values of either group.

I sincerely believe our governor will endorse a proposal of this kind. I propose we ask our governor and our congressmen to discuss the future of Ten Lakes with the people of Lincoln County. It would be well worth all our time and effort to participate.

John Hossack