Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Pearce: New Mexicans speak out on Gila road closings

Some, like Reverend Mike Skidmore from Truth or Consequences, simply love escaping with their loved ones into the Gila. For Rev. Skidmore, the Gila is a place to enjoy nature and “get away” — an experience he has shared with his children, grandchildren, and even members of his congregation. He fears that road closures will force everyone to the same crowded campsites, ending the days of quiet refuge and fellowship he always found there. Others have expressed concern for the elderly and disabled. The joys of the forest should be available to everyone, not just those with the physical ability to hike miles with a heavy pack. Charlie and Paula Stevens have camped in the Taylor Creek Canyon together for the past 35 years. The couple explained that as they grow older, they will become unable to access their spot without roads. Restricted access could bring their lifelong tradition to an end. This sort of discrimination against the elderly and disabled is unacceptable. Those who live in the Gila, including ranchers and farmers, are deeply concerned. Roads throughout the Gila connect them to their livelihoods, their homes, and their backyards...more

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