2001-06-02 / Letters

Last American Wilderness

Last American Wilderness

Dear Editor:

We are losing the last of our surviving American wilderness at the hands of Clintonites and Bushites not merely in far away places such as the Everglades, the Rocky Mountains, and the Alaskan North Slope, but also right here at home within New York City.

Even before our city turned over the territory in 1972 to the emergent Gateway National Recreation Area for safekeeping, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge has been sacrosanct, set aside to allow migrating birds and other creatures this one undisturbed respite in their difficult travels. Compliant to its paramount mandate, the Refuge has been managed for the optimal benefit of its wildlife, with additional efforts made to accommodate caring, pedestrian, human visitors. The large sign in front of the Visitor’s Center declares: No bicycles, No jogging---and it is respected.

Astounding as it may seem, saboteurs now set in charge of Gateway, not unlike those now set in charge of the federal Department of the Interior, are preparing to break-open the Refuge. In a minimally $1.225 million boondoggle, concocted for the perpetual yearly benefit of asphalt contractors and real estate encroachment forces of Howard Beach, Broad channel, and the Rockaways, the saboteurs are about to unleash bulldozers and destruction goons into the trees and bushes of the Refuge’s wilderness for unprecedented paved-road surgery and emplacement. That sign in front of the Visitor’s Center would have to be removed.

The current managers of the Refuge and Gateway are not interested in near costless, non-destructive alternatives because those for whom management works have other unspoken objectives involving larger private profits and larger private development.

Let’s stop this wilderness road and its pushers.

STEPHEN WOHL

Engineer


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