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Traffic overload

As reported in the article, ``Deep Dilemma in Grand Canyon: Improve Access or Retain Natural Beauty,'' Aug. 2, the cars, buses, airplanes, and helicopters converging on the Grand Canyon in ever greater numbers should wake us up.

The demands on our national parks are growing. The United States population has doubled since 1940, but park visitation is 16 times as high.

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Pressure on national forests, national wildlife refuges, and US Bureau of Land Management areas - including the California desert -

is also growing rapidly.

A profoundly important legacy is at stake. The 620 million acres of public lands our forebears had the good sense to protect are a significant part of what we will pass on to future generations.

We need to take better care of these lands. Congress should conduct hearings on the sustainability of these special places - and of all our other resources at a time when the Census Bureau projects at least a 50 percent increase in America's population over the next 50 years. Gaylord Nelson, Washington Counselor, The Wilderness Society

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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