We feel that even with large areas preserved as wilderness, there will be enough land available for significant rape and pillage by mega corporations who can reap huge profits, pay a few taxes, and declare bankruptcy when anything goes wrong. Since these corporations will pass the cost of accidents, fraud and misdeeds on to the county, we don’t dare leave too much land open to them.
On the downside, wilderness does not pay taxes, (except Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), which the county and wilderness organizations should lobby to be increased for wilderness lands, letting the whole country pay us for “losing” that tax base), however it also does not COST money.
Wilderness does not need water, waterlines, waste disposal, or schools. It does not require expensive roads, courts, jails or sheriff vehicles. Have you seen what those departments cost us already?
Wilderness generates income when users buy gas and gear, eat at our restaurants, and race to hotels when the weather gets bad, as well as when they need to be rescued. Visitors LOVE to see wilderness on the maps, it draws them here to do stupid things and learn important lessons, like what it is like to die of a sprained ankle in the desert, miles from anywhere.
Let’s be a county that recognizes its unique assets and looks beyond the next five or 10 years. If our grandchildren need resources in 80 years, the land will be there with minerals intact, there’s no need to greedily use them up today. We’d like to see the majority of the qualified areas designated as wilderness so we can all rest assured of a clean future with options intact.
—Audrey and Tim Graham