To the Journal editor:
I challenge Dave Schneider's assertions regarding the Wilderness Act. The 90,000 acres have been touched to a large degree. Indeed, all the U.P. was logged at least two times and more likely three. The revered McCormick Tract was started by Cyrus McCormick and Cyrus Bently buying up worthless cut-over sections. Nature regenerated, the gentlemen died off, and the tract was placed into the hands of a government agency.
I speak of the McCormick Tract as I have most of my experience there. You speak of the quiet of the tract without the noise of logging equipment. No logging (at least selective cutting), equals a forest almost barren of small game. I have skied the McCormick tract several times and there are many places where there is little if any underbrush so needed for animals to hide in and find food. Oh, you'll find moose in the tract, but rabbits and grouse aren't that abundant. Make a ski trip in there sometime and observe.
Ken Lowe was right about decreased recreational opportunities, only not in the way you think. At the trailhead of the tract (and all others) there are signs forbidding wheel vehicles of all types. No bikes, canoe wheels etc. and most poignantly, no wheelchairs. The sign says no wheels of any kind. Period. Few people think of the handicapped.
There are those who won't get a physical handicap deter them from living life to the fullest no matter what the hand of fate dealt them. Some paraplegics have off-road wheel chairs allowing them to get out in the wild, but the insane rules governing the tract stop them. Others, like me, can't walk very far. However, I'm fortunate, I can still ski.
If the access road to the lodge remained open to allow people with physical disabilities to partake more of the "wilderness," it wouldn't hurt a thing. The road was already there! Walking the 3.4 miles to the former lodge site is difficult. Doubly so for those with a handicap. With the road open, one could drive to the former lodge site then start their day's activities.
I believe Wilderness Tracts should be called Wild Tracts and the rules relaxed to accommodate people with physical disabilities, but no such help will come from the tree-hugger bunch with the strong healthy legs they use.
Oh, and I am disappointed in Reagan.
Roy Anderson, Green Creek