To the editor:

A recent Baker City Herald editorial asserted it andquot;bad adviceandquot; to refrain from listing specific public forest roads that we, the public, prefer to have left open. Given that no rider andquot;regularly travelsandquot; all 4,200 miles of roads that are slated for potential closure the editorial further suggests that we provide the Forest Service with written justification specific to each road that we want left open.

I disagree!

While I commend and thank those that have taken the time to prepare written comments throughout this debacle, I also recognize the value in choosing to refrain from submitting written comments, and view such a stance as being much more than a andquot;symbolic protest.andquot; To declare in writing one road more important than another is to indirectly imply other roads are of less importance. To get what I want at the expense of someone else losing a cherished road or area simply because that area lacked specific written comments or support is a divisive game that pits one outdoor enthusiast against another. For better or worse, it's a game that I'm not willing to play.

At the heart of this debate lies freedom of choice. The freedom of choice to travel roads and recreate in areas we have enjoyed for decades, as well as the opportunity to discover and explore some of the few remaining places void of ridiculous rules, regulations and restrictions.

Mr. Ellis needs specific written comments? Over 6,000 resident of Eastern Oregon have signed a petition in opposition to all further road closures on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest (try garnering that kind of consensus on any other issue in Eastern Oregon!). Over 6,000 people feel that enough is enough. Most importantly, over 6,000 people would like the Forest Service to recognize that the forest roads we don't travel today are the adventures we'd like to take tomorrow.

I hope that was specific enough.

Andy Ballard

Baker City