National Geographic : 1992 Jul
progressive city fathers purchased a little white truck that putted up and down our streets spewing pesticides that misted over the meadows, killing the mosquitoes. The food chain was broken. No more frogs or snakes, the geese prefer golf courses, and the boys of summer are no more. CHRIS HARDT Carson City, Nevada Yes, sheer volume of people causes major prob- lems, and the backcountry is at capacity. Cal Sno- Park and Nevada's Spooner Lake project block free access to snow-play areas, and the traffic still smogs up the air. But most of us are trying. We now transport our treated sewage, refuse, and garbage out of the basin. We have restored old dump sites and are buying unbuildable lots. Our loved and hated bistate agency (TRPA) has blocked what would have been a massive buildup from ski slope to lakeshore. Come back and look again. J. MICHAEL SHARP Stateline, Nevada My maternal grandfather, William Henry Knight, caused Tahoe to be so named. He arrived in California as a young man riding a horse behind a covered wagon in 1859. Passing a beautiful lake called Bigler, after California's third governor, he thought, What an ugly name. Then in San Fran- cisco he compiled the first map of the Pacific states, in 1862. He learned that the Indians called the lake Tahoe, meaning "big water" or "high water," and had his cartographer put Tahoe on the map; it was accepted in Washington. Earth Almanac WALDO RUESS Santa Barbara, California Contrary to your March report, polar bears and oil and gas activities do not raise "new concerns. " The reader is left with the impression that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's coastal plain is impor- tant for the species, but note that it covers 1.5 mil- lion acres, about the size of Delaware. During the past 11 years the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has counted a maximum of four dens and in some years none in the ANWR area. These few dens have been found near the coastal bluffs where development is least likely. It is highly unlikely that carefully controlled development in ANWR would adversely affect polar bear habitat. The oil and gas industry has carried out activities in har- mony with wildlife for several decades. RICHARD A. W. Hoos Mackenzie Delta Pipeline Project Calgary, Alberta Letters should be addressed to FORUM, National Geographic Magazine, Box 37448, Washington, D. C . 20013, and should include sender's address and telephone number. Not all letters can be used. Those that are will often be edited and excerpted. Now there's American Express" Travelers Cheques for Two. Either of you can use them because both of you have signed them. So the peace of mind you've always enjoyed can now be shared with another. And they're accepted everywhere our regular Cheques are, which is pretty much everywhere. Don't leave home Travelers "Cheques have tied the knot,_iust not around each other.