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ROOM TO ROAM
"Bison and Boundaries" (November/December) spent five pages tiptoeing around the most important fact regarding the nearly extinct American buffalo: The zones around the park in which it's legal to shoot trespassing bison and grizzlies are public lands. Surely the majority of Americans do not believe that a few ranchers have a right to profit from public property when doing so endangers the survival of Bison bison. The Sierra Club should start a national campaign to have these lands included in a larger Yellowstone National Park.
Winthrop R. Staples III
Newbury Park, California
One important contemporary role for the 175-year-old John Muir overlooked by Michael Brune ("Create," November/December) is that of revolutionary religious thinker. In this, I would rank him with the Dalai Lama, the pope, and even Gandhi. As a modern-day prophet who redefined God as beauty and scriptures as nature, with little interest in the distractions of the supernatural, Muir left us a trail map even Buddha, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, and Confucius could follow. Like many spiritual superstars, he went straight to the natural world for all "spiritual" lessons. He might not have been a saint or a prophet (he sure didn't see himself this way), but Muir still runs circles around all the otherworldly minded, outhiking those with their heads in the heavens.
San Rafael, California
SUGAR DADDY REDEFINED
The November/December issue touts organic coconut sugar from Madhava, which sells for $6.49 per pound and which few people could realistically afford ("Enjoy," page 8). How can the common man afford to be green, at least when it comes to food products?
Receiving your fine magazine is always so inspiring, with its interesting articles and amazing photography. Unfortunately, the only concerns about animals where I live revolve around shooting them in hunting season and comparing which dog's tail was docked the shortest.
What you preach and what you advocate are two different things. The magazine's "Comfort Zone" column continually shows large homes that are sometimes even vacation homes, thus taking up more of our precious environment and resources. And your ongoing promotion of trips to places like China, Australia, and Europe just helps support the oil industry.
DON'T LOOK AT ME!
Michael Engelhard writes about his encounter with a bear sow and her cubs in the Chisos Mountains of Texas ("Explore," November/December). He was lucky, because he broke a prime rule in staring at the mother as he backed away. That is a good way to invite an attack, because bears may perceive direct eye contact as a threat.
As many readers pointed out, a correction in our November/December issue regarding the September/October "Innovate" column should have said that a pumped-storage facility in Germany can store 400 megawatt-hours of energy, enough to power 40,000 homes for one day.