Don't Bury the California Desert Protection Act in the Sand

The Desert Protection Act leaves 33,000 miles of desert roads and primitive routes open for public access. It also designates 74 wilderness areas. The proposed legislation would also confer national park status on Death Valley National Monument and increase the size of the new park by adding 1.3 million acres of adjoining public land, including the Saline Valley area.

The act does nothing to limit access to this area. It will, however, prohibit off-road vehicular travel in the surrounding wilderness. It's about time. The Mojave Desert, where I live, and the warmer Colorado Desert to the south, are fragile ecosystems, and in many places they are dying under the wheels of weekend thrill-seekers.

For more than 40 years my wife and I have "experienced the real desert." We look forward to the passage of the long-deferred Desert Bill in the hope that our grandchildren will share that experience. Donald W. Moore, Ridgecrest, Calif.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please fax letters to (617) 450-2317 or address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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