WYOMING (CONT.)
Sir:
Our thanks to SI and Jim Doherty for the article on Wyoming {Wyoming Plays Its Hole Card, May 17). Many outsiders have written about the environmental mess in our state, but few have done so honestly and perceptively. Doherty's article puts in the right light the price we must pay here for energy consumption habits elsewhere. We in Wyoming stand ready to do our part in meeting reasonable demands on our energy resources, but not at the price of our precious wildlife.
TOM WOLF
Executive Director
Wyoming Outdoor Council
Cheyenne, Wyo.

Sir:
Whenever you do an article on the environment, you make it sound as though the whole Western U.S. is being destroyed. In SCORECARD (May 17) you quoted Secretary of the Interior James Watt as saying, "Mining and hunting are not as incompatible as some people would have you think." He's absolutely correct. He comes from out here and knows what he's talking about.

I drive clear across Wyoming at least four times a year, and except for the obvious growth of some of the towns, the countryside looks the same as it did 34 years ago when I moved here from New York. There certainly are impacted areas where oil drilling or mining is going on, but our natural resources have to be developed. What people from heavily populated areas don't realize is that this part of the U.S. is enormous, and the areas being developed are just tiny spots on the map.

Some of my property adjoins three huge coal strip mines, so I know about environmental impact. The game is only temporarily disturbed, and there is lots more country to move to if necessary. I see more deer around the mines than anywhere else. The energy companies are doing a great job of reclamation, and in general they make excellent neighbors—very cooperative and helpful.

Your stories often seem to imply that sensible Westerners, like Secretary Watt, and many ranchers, like myself, aren't environmentalists. On the contrary, we have to take care of the environment to survive, and we love the game we support on our land. Basically, we hate the energy development and wish it would go away. But the ranching business stinks, and the days are over when sheep or cows can make ranching pay. One has to lease land for mineral exploration or in some other way cash in on the energy boom. It's a matter of simple economics.

The biggest threat to our environment is the great American public. Many people have respect for the land, but there are just enough slobs around to mess up the landscape. I have a nice pond on my ranch that is used almost daily by trespassers. They would be welcome if they didn't leave beer cans and other debris around. And, of course, with the development of our energy resources, more and more people like this show up around here. We Westerners and the game will survive, just as Alaska survived the pipeline, but I wish that someone would devote a little more effort to educating the public to respect private property and the public domain.
WALTER J. TAYLOR
Kirby, Mont.

Sir:
If your purpose in printing the Jim Doherty article on Wyoming was to emotionally arouse your readers against oil and gas activities in southwest Wyoming, you may have succeeded. However, a few facts are in order:

•Just as Wyoming's population has almost doubled in recent years, the number of its big game animals—elk, deer and antelope—has also almost doubled in the last 25 years, according to state game and fish figures.

•Mining, plus oil and gas development, only disturbs 1% of Wyoming's surface. Yet, that small acreage provides 60% of the state's tax revenue—a pretty fair trade-off for the temporary use of a small amount of our land.

•The people who live in and love Wyoming are here because they want to work here and also enjoy the recreational opportunities that this wonderful state provides. No one favors the destruction of animals, and, in my opinion, it isn't happening. The statement that 5,000 acres of habitat were lost in one year from seismic detonations is pure rot.

•There isn't a Wyoming organization of any kind that has 25,000 members, as you said the Wyoming Wildlife Federation does.

•With a few exceptions, the people quoted in your article are newcomers who really don't represent the average Wyoming citizen. Many new arrivals representing multimillion-dollar national environmental groups obstruct energy development at every turn, yet they have no economic base in our state.
HARRY ROBERTS
Executive Director
Wyoming Heritage Society
Cody, Wyo.

•A Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesman says there has been a slight increase in the state's elk and antelope populations in recent years because hunting has been controlled through "open bids." But the number of deer, for which hunting is not controlled, has decreased considerably as a result of severe winters and increased hunter pressure, much of it from the newcomers in the energy business, many of whom are avid hunters. State officials couldn't cite an exact percentage of surface land disturbed by mining and oil and gas development, but they estimated it to be much higher than 1%. Also, tax revenues from these activities were estimated to be closer to 40% of Wyoming's total than 60%. As for the loss of habitat in one year from seismic blasting in the Bridger Teton National Forest, SI's 5,000-acre figure is a "conservative" estimate by a U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist of the amount of high-elevation vegetation lost to wildlife for the 1981 growing season. That figure would apply to 1982 as well. In fact, the disturbance from helicopter noise accompanying some seismic testing may be even more detrimental to certain animals than the temporary loss of vegetation. Reader Roberts is right about the Wyoming Wildlife Federation: It has 2,500 members, not 25,000.—ED.

Sir:
We three West Coast residents are currently backpacking along the length of the beautiful Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. We have been and will be passing through some of the wildest areas left in California, Oregon and Washington. Starved for sports news along the way, we obtained and eagerly read the May 17 issue of SI and the fine article by Jim Doherty on Wyoming. The vast majority of Americans just don't realize the extent to which our nation's incomparable wild areas have been plundered by man in the name of progress. The main reason we undertook this trek was to enjoy the beauty of our Far Western wilderness areas while it is still there. But already we have been saddened by the abuses we have seen. Litter has fouled some streams and trails. Dirt bikers have destroyed some fragile desert terrain. Smog from Los Angeles is slowly killing the pine forests of the San Gabriel Mountains.

To those who are raping Wyoming in an underpinned effort to recover that state's natural resources as quickly as possible, we say, "For shame!" It's time to slow down the rush to exploit the land. Careful planning is essential to ensure that the land can be renewed after the oil rigs are gone. Once these areas are gone, they're gone forever.
HARRY R. CARSON
KELLY K. FLOWERS
RAYMOND S. CLARK
Along the Pacific Crest Trail

CALIFORNIA RULES
Sir:
In the sidebar accompanying the article on Sugar Ray Leonard (An Uncertain View of the Future, May 24) that described the medical aspects of a detached retina, John Papanek wrote, "No state requires a fighter to undergo an ophthalmological exam before a bout." This is wrong, because California certainly does require an ophthalmological exam before a bout. I am one of several ophthalmologists who perform this examination for the state athletic commission. We have a list of "conditions causing mandatory loss of a boxing license." Included among those conditions is "the presence or history of a retinal detachment in either eye whether or not this has been adequately repaired."
MATTHEW A. BERNSTEIN, M.D.
Los Angeles

SUFFERING FOR USC
Sir:
Your editorial concerning cheating at USC (SCORECARD, May 10) pointed out very clearly that USC broke the rules and should be punished. My only complaint is that the people responsible for the "crime" are the ones who should be punished, not innocent players. It seems to me that the high school seniors who this year picked USC because they thought it was the best school for them—and not for any football ticket money—are the ones who are being punished the most. I signed a football Letter of Intent to attend USC in February, before the NCAA probation was announced. I chose to become a Trojan because I like the school and its surroundings, but this means that I have to live with a penalty incurred by others or switch to another school and probably lose some of my eligibility. Why should I be punished? There has to be a better way to discipline a school.
LONNIE B. WHITE
South Belmar, N.J.

LENDL'S RACKET
Sir:
Your May 17 issue included an excellent article on Ivan Lendl by Barry McDermott {No Shuck, No Jive and No Letting Up). Unfortunately, there was some misunderstanding regarding the Adidas/Lendl racket you mentioned as being unavailable to the public.

The fact is, the Lendl racket is currently being sold in Europe and, if all goes according to plan, will be marketed in the U.S. late this year.
BART STOLP
Manager
Advertising and Public Relations
Adidas USA Inc.
Mountainside, N.J.

Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.

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