Now if you'd like to eliminate domination of the game of basketball by outsized giants, give me a call.
JAMES H. VAN ALEN
ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY
Having been a Seaway pilot for some 18 years on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario and a shipmaster in offshore trade, I have developed some ideas relative to Seaway winter navigation that have apparently been overlooked by the participants in this hotly contested issue (A Winter of Discontent Heats Up, Nov. 20).
I feel sure that the employment of saltwater ships on the St. Lawrence above Montreal in winter would be minimal because, I believe, few owners would engage their ships in a trade so apt to result in high insurance costs, tugboat and icebreaker assistance costs, higher tariffs, higher pilotage rates and, most of all, costly delays caused by ice damage and/or periods of limited visibility whenever the water is exposed to below-zero F. ambient temperatures.
The most likely prospects for winter navigation on the St. Lawrence would be the Russians, who have cargo vessels strengthened for use in ice in the Baltic and the White seas, and whose government subsidy would offset financial losses caused by delays. This leaves the 730-foot lake vessels that carry the preponderance of Seaway bulk cargoes: iron ore and grain. These ships are not designed for navigation in ice and would be subject to the same risks as saltwater vessels, both financial and physical.
Therefore, with greatly reduced traffic and much higher costs during the winter months, I see little justification for the expenditure of large sums of taxpayers' money to make winter navigation on the St. Lawrence possible, especially during this period of high inflation when the entire country is seeking relief from excessive spending.
JOSEPH J. STROKIRK
I pored over Robert Boyle's article on the St. Lawrence River and found myself reminiscing about the 25 summers I spent at my father's house on Wellesley Island.
The St. Lawrence Seaway project of the '50s made a permanent scar on the river by changing the contour of many of the Thousand Islands and deepening the channel to allow ocean vessels to pass through to the Great Lakes. The freighters do add an international flavor to the backwoods and are quite elegant at night as they slip quietly by. However, they have failed to provide the financial success that many were led to expect by those who encouraged the Seaway.
It was not until 1976, when a barge full of No. 6 crude oil hit a shoal off Wellesley Island and then proceeded to an anchorage about four miles upstream, spilling oil all the way, that the majority of the islanders began questioning the Seaway. That oil spill did damage to the environment and to the tourist trade. All the islands hit by the oil and all the bays in which the oil collected still bear the scars.
I cannot see how it would be possible to create a safe winter passageway. It would not only endanger the environment and the lives of fish and game but it would also jeopardize the lives of the islanders. Many depend upon snowmobiles to get from island to island and to the mainland in the winter. With open water, it would be impossible to live on some islands during the cold months. Game animals also have certain paths across the ice that would be blocked by open water. And fish would be disturbed from their winter habitat. I hope you will keep us informed of the outcome of this controversy through future articles.
JAMES E. HOFFMAN
North Hollywood, Calif.
Sportsman of the Year? Why Syracuse Center Roosevelt Bouie, of course. He managed to catch five muskie "whoppers" in Oneida Lake (The Top 20, Nov. 27) even though most world-class fisherman would have trouble finding five muskies in that walleyed pike-filled lake. Give Rosie a dunking for his fish story.