Compromise not option on proposed wilderness

In response to your editorial regarding the Nevada Wilderness Project's proposal to designate 693,000 acres of public lands as wilderness, we have not the slightest intention of compromising with the wilderness project, the U.S. Forest Service or anyone else.

The people and their commissioners in both Lyon and Mineral counties have clearly stated, "No wilderness, period."

The notion of compromise with the wilderness project's proposed wilderness plan is patently absurd.

I keep hearing the word from the project and some of their local adherents. However, their idea of compromise is that we surrender some unspecified amount of public land to them and consider ourselves lucky. That's like a thief coming to your home and telling you, "Hey, if you compromise with me I'll only take half of what you own."

The public lands in question are designated for multiple uses. We are told that even if they become wilderness, we will still be able to snowmobile and ride ATVs, mountain bikes, dirt bikes and generally enjoy our recreation essentially unchanged. Wanna bet? The history of wilderness designations is littered with metal gates and locks and riding prohibitions that ensure you will never enter the area again. If you doubt this, read Andi Vogt's article "The Gate People" at

It's hard to tell whether some sort of limited arrangement could have been reached by local people regarding Wovoka. But clearly that time is past. When the wilderness project intruded with their ludicrous proposal and our senators became little more than their water boys any chance of compromise was utterly ruined. The notion that our elected representatives were somehow soliciting our input is laughable. We have invited them to the meetings, not vice versa. And we invited the wilderness project, but they declined to attend.

The wilderness project and our elected representatives will now start to search for residents who are agreeable to compromise. They will look for the weak links, the Judas goats, who will be willing tools to support their agenda. In this they will be disappointed. Of the hundreds and hundreds of citizens I have seen at meetings, I've yet to see anybody that remotely resembles a goat. On the other hand, I have certainly seen a lot of determined people for whom I have the deepest respect.

One thing in this whole mess is crystal clear. Lyon and Mineral county residents want no compromise. We are sick and tired of federal bullying on behalf of arrogant special interests. Compromise equals defeat for both counties.

n Phil Tucker is writing for the Coalition for Public Access.


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