We know there are accidents on the trampoline, just as there are many in skiing. We do not, however, advocate a ban on skiing. We know that there is permanent paralysis and spinal-cord damage as a result of automobile accidents, yet we do not advocate the banning of cars.
I am advocating that every trampoline or gymnastics instructor be certified by the U.S. Trampoline Association and by the U.S. Gymnastics Safety Association, whose certification programs have been established with the assistance of the Red Cross, along the lines of its program for swimming instructors. I am positive that most trampoline accidents can be prevented with the implementation of these safety procedures.
U.S. Gymnastics Safety Association
East Stroudsburg, Pa.
PRESERVING THE BWCA
William Oscar Johnson's article on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (Passionate Suitors for a Wild Paradise, Oct. 10) invites comment. The real issue is our use of public land and the double standards we employ in our decision making. That the BWCA requires care is beyond doubt. But is the "incursion of commerce" problem solved by Congressman Donald Fraser's bill? Prohibiting motors in the BWCA would surely cause some businesses to fail, but it also would allow canoe outfitters to operate on the very fringes of the area. Are we being consistent in eliminating logging and some local industry, while allowing other industries to profit from the use of the area?
Moreover, the majority of visitors to the BWCA travel by rented canoe, so the exclusion of all outboard motors and snowmobiles can hardly solve the largest problem, which is too many people. The biggest changes visible to me since my first visits there more than 20 years ago are the greatly increased numbers of people who go into the area and the damage they cause. It has reached the point where the use of the words "wilderness," "pristine" and "untouched" becomes questionable. On a single day's journey up the Knife Lake chain recently, I counted more than 100 canoes.
Rush City, Minn.
As a native Minnesotan and a professional forester, I was both encouraged and angered by your article on the BWCA controversy. As complex as the issue is, with both sides having legitimate arguments, it seems ironic to me that a subcommittee in Washington, with a Californian as its head, will decide the fate of this beautiful area. Why not let the people of Minnesota decide?
Obviously, Congressman James L. Oberstar has never bathed under a waterfall or dipped his cup to drink crystal clear water from a lake. Or turned his head to watch an eagle soar. Or gotten high on a sunset. And when was the last time he saw a midnight sky so full of stars and northern lights that he forgot to go to sleep?
When you visit a place like the BWCA, you realize that it is a national, not a local resource, and that it is part of an international wilderness sanctuary. Whatever wilderness there is on this earth right now is priceless. If it is lost, it can never be replaced.