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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 12, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Debate over access to Glacier Peak wilderness

Consider expense, ecological damage

The Suiattle River Road, washed out in a half-dozen places in the past decade, is the primary west-side access to the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Repairs of the road have become the subject of debate among wilderness advocates. [Benjamin Benschneider, The Seattle Times.]

The Suiattle River Road, washed out in a half-dozen places in the past decade, is the primary west-side access to the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Repairs of the road have become the subject of debate among wilderness advocates. [Benjamin Benschneider, The Seattle Times.]

Ron Judd’s question in his article about access to the Glacier Peak Wilderness, “Do conservationists have any right, let alone responsibility, to protect wilderness areas by working to keep people out of them?” is a leading question on par with “Have you stopped beating your wife?” [“Road warriors,” Pacific NW magazine, Aug. 11]

It is a question stated in a manner that implies guilt; inevitable, inescapable guilt. A better question would have been, “Do conservationists have the right to ask how much public money should be repeatedly spent on a wilderness access point, when so many others exist?”

That’s the real question at hand. To ask it in the way Judd asked it misses the actual point. His article notes that the runoff from the mountain batters the riverbanks constantly, surely leading to new washouts in the near future.

Do we keep repairing a road for one access point among many, at great expense, that nature itself is not intent on maintaining? It’s a worthwhile question to ask.

Bruce Barnbaum, Granite Falls

Comments | More in Environment, Seattle | Topics: conservation, glacier peak, pacific northwest

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