Public Lands, What's the Big Deal???
There's been a lot of talk in the past year about Public Lands, and more recently the conversation has heated up. Between the proposed fee increases, shrinking of Bears Ears, HR 3990, the infamous Bundy trial or the "Zinke Doctrine" the news hasn't stopped.
There are a great many opinions about this debate, whether it takes the form of states rights, freedoms, energy independence or leans towards preservation, uniqueness, and keeping our public lands in public hands. Everyone has their opinion and their right to that conclusion, but here are a few reasons why we should take a closer look at the following argument of keeping public lands in public hands.
- The outdoor industry is an 887 billion dollar industry, employing 7.6 million people, earning 65.3 billion in federal tax revenue annually, and 59.2 in state and local. That's a pretty big industry! Most importantly one that's going to continue to grow and prosper as long as we still have a place to get outdoors. Also, these amounts do not figure into surrounding economies, i.e., the ice cream shop at the entrance of a National Forest.
- Currently, under Federal protection, these lands are yours! That means that you can go hiking, biking, climbing, fishing, hunting, camping, whatever on them! They are yours to enjoy! If that land transferred back to the states, there's a big chance that the area could end up developed, privatized to specific groups or clubs, or even just closed down altogether. History shows us that the states have no problem selling off the land. To date, states have sold 70% of the Public Trust Lands that have been entrusted for them to control.
- Because Teddy Rosevelt was the MAN, he said: “We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.” The beautiful thing about all of our Public Lands is that we are showing the world that we, as a country, are entirely one of a kind, by preserving not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
- Lands that become National Monuments, Forests, BLM lands, etc... were not designated overnight on a whim by any single president. Fact is that many were years in the making. I.e., Bears Ears. This monument has been fighting for protection since basically forever. Several Native American Tribes, conservation groups, and even outdoor retailer, Patagonia worked tirelessly for the designation President Obama finally granted. These lands are protected for many reasons whether it be habitat conservation, or they're an essential part of our country's history, so take note, it's not just a random parcel of land.
- The Bundy Trial. So this is an odd one, but it's here to make a point. The standoff that took place between Bundy and his militia vs. federal wildlife officers was unfortunate. We do have rules and regulations regarding public lands, and some require fees, whether to enter the park, camp or graze your cattle. These rules should be respected and followed. Because while this is your land, it's mine, too. Again, an unfortunate event on Public Lands, but you don't just do away with something because of one adverse situation; if we all believed that we would have never had another democratic election after Nixon.
Those were just a few reason, there are much more, but we can start there.
If you're interested in doing more for your favorite Public Lands, check out the Outdoor Industry Association and find out what you can do in your state.