I read the Sept. 15 "My Turn" column with interest. As an avid outdoorsman, I would like to add a few more statements to go with it. AZ is in the top five states in total wilderness acres. We actually rank higher then Alaska.
Wilderness designation comes with some baggage they didn't mention. The Kofa Wildlife Refuge in southern AZ was created in 1939 for the conservation and development of wildlife resources and protection and conservation of desert bighorn sheep. The AZ desert wilderness act made 550,000 acres of the refuge wilderness area.
Mr. Frank's and Mr. Crumbo's groups, along with the Sierra club and several others, filed suit in 2007 against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. They wanted any new wildlife water development stopped and all existing wildlife waters removed due to the wilderness designation. Wildlife can't live without water and wilderness would lose some of its appeal without the presence of wildlife.
As stated in the column, some places have too much of the hand of man on it to be labeled true wilderness. We also have some real treasures that need protected for future generations, but we need to be prudent when we start slapping wilderness designation on thousands of acres without full consideration of all the possible side affects of such a ruling.
Maybe that is what the CNF personnel did when they made their decisions. There are more ways to protect public property then just wilderness designation.
Outdoorsman, 25-year volunteer hunter ed. chief instructor for AZGFD, father of 7 outdoor loving sons