"Dust Sure to Fly as Off-Roaders, Foes Battle on Anza-Borrego Use" by Ralph Frammolino (Dec. 28) reported on the desire of Director Henry Agonia of the state Department of Parks and Recreation to appease the virulent demands of the off-road vehicle crowd by opening California's finest park to vehicles designed for high-speed, cross-country travel. His efforts are completely out of line for appropriate park management and should be withdrawn.
The issue in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is for the use of motorcycles, three- and four-wheelers and specially modified automobiles on routes to many places that are currently the favorites of many park visitors. None of these "non-street-legal" vehicles are currently permitted to be operated in the park. In the past, the operators of these vehicles caused significant and well-documented damage in the park. Off-road vehicles were banned because of the extraordinary cost for personnel to control abuses and to try to repair long-lasting environmental damage.
Anza-Borrego has received United Nations recognition as a World Heritage Preserve due to its extraordinary biological and cultural resources. The park is a retreat for thousands of visitors every year. Recreational activities range from camping in developed campgrounds to visiting remote archeological sites. Visitors are now able to travel by licensed vehicles throughout the park. Mr. Agonia's proposal fails to take into account any of these passive recreational activities and ignores the fact that his actions will deny thousands of visitors the quality desert park experience they now enjoy.
Off-road vehicles are not welcome in our city and county parks because of their adverse impacts on the quality of other activities. The paid spokesmen from the off-road industry say that all they want is for their customers to have the same rights as other park visitors. Baloney!
What off-road vehicle riders want is total control of California's park system. If Mr. Agonia can't say no, it's time for a new director for the state park system.