To the editor:
I know it is never a good thing to get in a journalistic writing contest with a man who buys his ink by the barrel, so said Mark Twain. But here goes. I believe your recent editorial about the Shoshone National Forest (SNF) Travel Plan completely missed the point.
The SNF is the most remote and wildest national forest left in the United States. It harbors stellar populations of elk, bear, deer and sheep, and rare species like the lynx and wolverine. This is so because the Forest is largely roadless.
That is why so many Park County residents have horses and mules, so we can access the wild country. That is why we have a thriving outfitting and guiding industry. There is more stock in Park County than in any county in Wyoming, except for Fremont.
Many of us like it that way. We like to practice the ancient skills of packing and backcountry camping. It is part of our heritage, part of our culture. Ever growing numbers of people are coming here to experience the wilderness as well. It is unique, it is rare.
Most national forest lands in Wyoming are open to OHVs. Areas like the Bighorn National Forest, the Bear Lodge, Laramie Peak and Sierra Madre districts of other national forests in the state are wide open to OHV use. There are more than 10,000 miles of two-track roads on BLM lands in the Big Horn Basin alone. And that is fine.
But most of this forest is for us: the hiker, backpacker, horse and mule packer, backcountry hunter and angler, outfitters and guides, you know people who like to do things the hard way, the quiet way. Don’t sell us short, we matter too.
(s) Barry Reiswig
Vice Chair, Wyoming Back Country Horsemen