The article Snydered in Springfield (Sept. 2) is one of the more obnoxious pieces of reporting that I have read in some time. No town or city is without its shortcomings, and Springfield is no exception. As a member of the Springfield Country Club, I was disappointed when the board voted to deny the request to use the course again for the Ladies' World Series of Golf, and I am not proud that only about 5,000 persons each year attended these events. Perhaps Snyder Park Golf Course does not compare favorably with Augusta National, Winged Foot, Scioto or some other plush club, but to ridicule a city that provides excellent park facilities for its residents to have family picnics and play golf (even if they pull their own carts) is hitting a bit below the belt.
Had Curry Kirkpatrick taken the time to investigate, he might have mentioned some of the praiseworthy things our city has to offer, such as its tennis facilities and program, a summer arts festival, a symphony orchestra, opera and theater groups, an art center, a university, Head Start and Upward Bound programs for its youth, to mention but a few. And while he was mentioning the International Harvester Company, Mr. Kirkpatrick might have added that the new, multimillion-dollar factory built for them was voted one of the top 10 new plants in the nation by Modern Manufacturing magazine. Nor is Springfield a one-industry town. There are few cities its size that can compare with it in the diversification of its manufacturing plants.
If we have citizens who tried to undertake something big—perhaps too big at the time—might it not be better for all concerned to encourage them? Little in this world would have been bettered if it had not been for the men and women who had vision and the courage to translate that vision into action.
Your article Snydered in Springfield has created quite a turmoil with many sports-minded people, and even with those who aren't, in this one-horse town located midway between Columbus and Dayton.
The author must have been stranded in Springfield one cold winter night to knock the town as articulately as he did. This is not to say that Mr. Kirkpatrick fails to call a spade a spade. As a matter of fact, he describes the everyday movement in and around Snyder Park as it actually happens. His descriptions are quite amusing; you almost have to be a resident of Springfield to really appreciate them.
What is perturbing, though, is the lack of credit given to the sponsors, Springfield residents for the most part, who have staged a women's golf tournament that in 1968 paid to the last-place finisher more money than she could have won for finishing first in almost any other tournament on the tour. The women golf pros so far have received very little in the way of prize money for their excellent show from any city or locality in the nation—except maybe in the one-horse town of Springfield.
L. G. YOUNGBLOOD
I would quibble with only two of Author Bil Gilbert's points about national parks and the American public's idea of the good life—i.e., parking a $6,000 camper next to others to form the most mobile outdoor ghetto of all time (Boondock Heresy, Sept. 2). First, he is glad that the tastes of the mob and the backpacker seeking virgin land are so compatible. He shouldn't be; they aren't. Most of the drivers in traffic-jammed Great Smoky Mountains National Park that day would have liked—and actually will press for in the future—a road to Andrews Bald, where Mr. Gilbert found such welcome solitude.
Second, national parks have become a travesty of themselves, and Mr. Gilbert does a most descriptive job of telling it like it is. But when he suggests that perhaps the 99% of the public that doesn't hike is entitled to have lots more roads built so that they wind through 20% of the park land he is on shaky ground. It might be more logical to have absolutely no roads in national parks. The parks were established to conserve something of the original country, and there are lots of roads in the 98+% of the U.S. outside of the national parks.
The campers Bil Gilbert describes, and many of the ones I have seen, would be just as happy in a shopping-center parking lot, if only it had a name they could drop once they got home.
DON H. COOMBS
Palo Alto, Calif.
I found Bil Gilbert's article on Great Smoky Mountains Park highly amusing and entertaining. I fail, however, to follow or understand the logic that led to his last-paragraph conclusions. It seems highly inconsistent to spend the major part of the article ridiculing the parking-lot kind of life most people consider suitable exposure to the park and then to suggest that natural-scene preservationists should be unconcerned if a larger portion of the park were given over to expanded parking lot-souvenir town activities. Would it not be more desirable to educate people to the pleasures of hikes to Andrews Bald and similar areas?