Peak Misconception

Re “Way Too Many People Live Out Here” (Cover Story, July 24). Just a slight correction. In the article on development near the Cleveland National Forest, on page 42, the author said that Cuyamaca Peak, at 6512 feet, is the tallest peak in San Diego County. This is a very popular misconception. The highest peak is Hot Springs Mountain on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation, northeast of Warner Springs. It is 6533 feet high. You can verify it on a AAA map of San Diego County.

John Wehbring
via email

Contentious CBD

Regarding your lead article “Way Too Many People Live Out Here” (Cover Story, July 24) and the conflict between the Center for Biological Diversity and the Cleveland National Forest, I would like to share a little insight. The CBD has been a contentious and difficult group to work with about issues on public land for many years. Agencies like the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have a “multiple use” mandate in their decision-making policy about issues with public land. The CBD pushes these agencies to manage their way, with a strong bias towards species conservation and, when not satisfied, take agencies to court by means of lawsuits. These lawsuits often have the opposite effect of their intentions. This is because the lawsuits force the agencies to use large amounts of money and other resources to fight, taking away the agencies’ ability to manage the land they are charged with. The main tool of the CBD is the Endangered Species Act. One little-known fact about the Endangered Species Act is that if you sue and win, the government pays your legal fees. The CBD has used this fact to their financial advantage in many hundreds of lawsuits throughout the country.

The Endangered Species Act was originally sold to the American people to protect large animals from extinction. It has since been used extensively to protect species down to insects and plants (plants considered to be weeds by some). One time there was even an unsuccessful attempt to list a fungus as endangered. They often got away with using “junk science” to defend their cases. While the CBD is quick to sue, they are slow to volunteer. I personally volunteer with the Cleveland National Forest and Ocotillo Wells State Park. I have yet to hear of CBD people volunteering to help. It is my experience that volunteering and forming positive relationships with the staff of these agencies goes very far in guiding the management of land that interests me. If the CBD were to volunteer more and sue less, our public land might be far better off.

Ed Stovin
via email

Shame On The System

Prosecutor Brenda Daly should be ashamed (“Off-Road on Private Land,” “City Lights,” July 24). This is just another example of the legal system punishing a private citizen, Alan Inn, for trying to protect his property and defending the vandals who have no respect for the property and rights of others.

Sandra Conklin
via email

Bad Guys In The Desert

I read the article on the convicted felon Alan Inn, who committed a felony of assault with a deadly weapon (“Off-Road on Private Land,” “City Lights,” July 24). Did he or his attorney convince you to write this misleading story? Next time, please do some more research. For example: Drive out to the desert and view the Wisdon Ministry property. This article strikes me as an unfair portrait of off-road riders.

As a homeowner and landowner, I truly feel sorry for Mr. Alan Inn’s misfortunes. However, his approach on developing the land and his approach on pointing and shooting a gun are all wrong. If you unknowingly crossed a property line, do you deserve to be threatened, assaulted, and shot at? I don’t think so.

Mr. Alan Inn basically is taking out his frustrations on motorcycle riders who are riding 30-year-old established trails. Alan only fenced one side of the Wisdon Ministries property (the west side). Therefore, everyone traveling east to west became trapped and Alan pulled his gun and assaulted them. There were not adequate No Trespassing signs posted by Alan Inn. Even if he did place 50 signs as he says, the odds of seeing one in a greater-than-one-square-mile property are slim. The land is over one mile square! You can enter Alan’s property and never know it until you travel one mile and reach the west fence. That is where Alan pulled his gun and shot at the off-roaders.

Alan placed expensive items in the middle of the desert without fencing, signs, or security. Did he think they would be safe? The desert is full of criminals who come out at night looking for unsecured items to steal and/or vandalize. Read the Borrego Springs newspaper. The theft and vandalism of property in the desert is common. I feel sorry for Mr. Alan Inn that his equipment or property was vandalized. However, this is just not a safe place to leave expensive equipment.

Note: The off-roaders are often the victims of theft. Don’t ever leave your camp and belongings unattended at night. These are known facts for off-roaders. Alan Inn should know better and either secure his property or insure it is not left unattended.

Next you should do an article about Mr. Alan Inn’s illegal destruction of the desert.

If this Wisdon Ministry land was in San Diego or Borrego Springs, the county would be all over Alan Inn to stop his illegal activities.

(1) You describe Alan Inn as a developer who wants to build a wellness center and resort in the middle of the desert next to an 80,000-plus-acre off-road park and surrounded by privately owned property utilized by off-roaders. Doesn’t this wellness center and resort story sound fishy? What is Alan Inn’s property zoned for? Answer: residential agricultural.

(a) Who in their right mind would build or visit a wellness center and resort at this location? It is 110- plus degrees in the summer and prone to high winds throughout the year. Alan’s land is located in what is called the badlands. They have called it that for a reason.

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