Both Bill Merrell and your magazine deserve praise for the well-written and illustrated article “The Real Gold at Bodie” (April). Not only does it give an excellent sense of the power that this ghost town exerts on the visitor, but it also properly acknowledges the important and decisive role that volunteers and nonprofit organizations play in preserving and perpetuating the irreplaceble cultural resources of our nation. Such altruism in this case should also include the J. S. Cain Company, which very early recognized these values and sought to protect Bodie until California was able to establish the State Historic Park in 1962.
Unfortunately, the possibility of a modern gold mine on property adjoining Bodie may forever change the historic landscape and result in the loss of historic structures and sites. Just as it motivated the volunteers and the Cain Company, perhaps the spirit of Bodie will convince the mining companies that our common heritage is worth more than gold.