Fight the right enemy on land
This is in response to Patrick Murphy's recent letter regarding off-trail permits (Open Forum, March 22).
First of all, I am sorry to see that Mr. Murphy has to resort to name-calling. By calling those who would enjoy the careful use of our open space "wreck-reationists," he is using tactics that have been used for millennia by groups dismissive of those that don't agree with them, while attempting to discredit them and cower them into submission. Not a good example, I believe, for one who supposedly considers himself an environmentalist.
Regarding his example of tracks left behind by wagon trains a hundred or so years ago, his argument misses the point in a number of ways. First, there is a big difference between "impact" and "damage." Those wagon tracks have done nothing to change the ecosystem around them, have not caused species to go extinct, or any other collateral damage. Also, even in terms of impact, the weight per square inch of those wagon wheel tracks is multitudes higher than that of a human being.
The greatest danger to our open space lands originally came from development. That danger has been eliminated by purchasing those lands. The main concern now, which is actually causing damage to the ecosystem, comes from air pollution, the same air pollution that is caused by Mr. Murphy's car and the energy to heat his house, etc. This is having a major impact along the Front Range ecosystem, all the way up to Rocky Mountain National Park.
If Mr. Murphy and the other well-meaning environmentalists would really like to make a difference in protecting Boulder's open space, that is the enemy they should be fighting against, not the friendly recreationists.