Letters


GOOD DOGS

Dog Years" really struck a chord. My trail career began with Olympic National Park's crew in 1959. Although I went on to smokejump and ranger after that, trails have been central to Íiy life, and still are, even now that m retired in the North Cascades. I rangered in both Denali and Chilkoot, back when trails were very neglected, so it was good to read that things have improved a little.

ERIC BURR

Mazama, WA

Christine Byl's "Dog Years" was fascinating, informative, entertaining, and compelling. Where do I sign up to be an 84 year-old dog?"

JOHN E. MOREN

Davis, CA

Thanks for running Christine Byl's article. Within the past year I've had an increasing appreciation of the role that hiking trails play in our National Park System. Last August I visited Acadia, and this March I went to Joshua Tree. While these offer two totally different settings, they both share beautifully designed hiking trails that blend harmoniously with the landscapes, and the fine work of the traildogs greatly enhances the visitor experience. I found myself in admiration of these trails, but I became aware that maintaining a resource of this quality is a significant expense. I fear that budget cuts brought on by the sequester will not only prevent the building of new trails, but that existing trails could fall into disrepair from a lack of funds. I certainly hope that Congress doesn't allow this to happen, because it would be everyone's loss.

PAUL CLARKE

Tarry town, NY

I believe this is the first time I have written a magazine's editor in response to an article. After finishing "Dog Years," I realized how much I appreciate the story. I have often wondered about the building of the many trails I have walked in my 72 years, and I found it inspiring to know that people who work on them love their work so much. How lucky they are! It would be wonderful to see similar future articles that provide information about the workings of the national parks, e.g., the process to become such, how exhibits are developed and materials located for them, etc. Thank you for a wonderful magazine. It is one of the few I read cover to cover.

KAREN CANCINO

San Francisco, CA

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

Great article on Death Valley ["Sand & Castles"]. Having put my boots on the ground there, I just want to add that the name should not keep you from putting this amazing place on your "parks to see" list. This is unspoiled desert solitude at its best. Probably the only hiking spot I've ever experienced where the silence allows you to hear your heartbeat above the sound of foot beats. The playful daytime light, zigzag of canyons, sweep of sand dunes, jumbles of multi-hued mountain ranges, reverential solitude, and the desert sky at night ensure a mystical experience far beyond what the park's name implies!

RON BUCKLAND

Pasco, WA

A LIFETIME OF MEMORIES

Congratulations on your outstanding Spring issue. I particularly appreciated your short article on Tule Springs ["Wolf Hunt"], where we are hoping for a national monument. Reading about Death Valley ["Sand & Castles"] reminded me of my many trips there and my pleasure at seeing a bighorn sheep at the campground near Scotty's Castle. I have backpacked, camped, and hiked in all the national parks in the West and a few in the East. I also worked to help establish Great Basin National Park in Nevada. National parks have been an important part of my life, and I have wonderful memories, but now I'm in my late 80s and unable to walk very far without assistance- so I really appreciate reading about the parks and seeing the beautiful photographs in your magazine. …

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