Dear Representative Pombo,         

 

I am writing in response to your support of ham operators who wish to broadcast from the Farallon Islands. As a lifelong California resident, I am appalled at this suggestion. Opening the Farallones to public access is essentially akin to allowing tourists to tromp through a neonatal ward. It would cause permanent harm to embattled animal populations in exchange for an essentially frivolous cause.

Human boots would crush bird nests and human faces would kill young elephant seals by triggering beach stampedes. Tourists would also bring construction projects to the islands in the form of toilet and picnicking and other facilities. These kinds of disruptions will render the islands unfit for the very wild residents many people would come to see.

Ham radio operators as well as nature lovers like myself already have plenty of public park space to wander through. Removing the islands’ protected status will leave these wild creatures with no refuge from the industrial development, careless feet, and prying eyes of what they instinctively view as human predators. Robbing them of this vital sanctuary would be a crime.

I urge you to listen to the scientists who have kept the Farallones healthy for seabirds and marine mammals all these years. Don’t throw away an international treasure merely to give tourists another notch on their belts. And don’t think that all nature lovers wish to set foot wherever they please. It’s enough for many of us to know that these creatures have someplace safe to turn to in an increasingly human-trammeled world.

 

Kathleen Wong

Oakland, California

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