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Real wilderness found at Terre Haute site
Letter to the editor
As appeared in the Danbury New Times, 03/04/02

Last November, I went on a couple of hikes in the Adirondack High Peaks region over Thanksgiving weekend.
The first was up one of the 4,000-foot high peaks. The trail was so rutted that it was very easy to follow. Along the way, I met well over two dozen people and at least a dozen dogs.

The next day’s hike was flatter. I drove into a large paid parking area, got a permit and went for a hike to Marcy Dam. This trail was not as rutted as the previous day’s trail, but it was impossible to miss.

Part way in, there was a sign saying that I was entering the wilderness. I almost laughed out loud. This was some tame wilderness. Along the way, there were outhouses and lean-tos, as well as established campsites. When I signed out, I noted that 28 parties had signed in since I had.

Contrast that with a recent hike at Terre Haute. This is the area roughly between Route 53 in Bethel and Long Ridge Road in Danbury.

Some of this area is owned by the Swampfield Land Trust of Danbury and is protected as open space. Some 630 acres is owned by Bethel for its water supply and is not protected as open space.

My friend and I found the trails sparsely marked and somewhat difficult to follow. We lost and found the trail several times. At one point, my friend remarked that there was absolute silence. We could hear no cars and no machines. We saw only one other person in the interior of the area.

This was real wilderness. Instead of being hundreds of miles away, it was about 21ž2 miles from my house. This is my back yard. This is too good to lose.

Michael G. Cunningham