“Keep Public Land in Public Hands.”
Like all other rights, it’s only a “right” if you are willing to fight for it.
The land hustlers are attempting to take our fundamental rights away and turn our public lands into commodity they can profit from. Greed never sleeps and is often disguised as good intentions. America is known for its wide open spaces, endless mountain ranges, famous rivers and abundant fish and wildlife.
Proponents of the “transfer” of Federal land would have you believe that they are righting an historic wrong, which long ago the feds grabbed land that did not belong to them, and that it should be “returned” to state ownership. That’s a very convenient, an incorrect, reading of Western history. The fact is that almost all Western states were once federal territories, land purchased by the U.S. Treasury. Where did the U.S. Treasury acquire the funds to buy the land? From all tax payers, not just those from Nevada or Utah or Montana or any other state. The land was purchased by all Americans, for all Americans, from France, Great Britain and Russia or it was seized from Spain, Mexico or Indian nations and governed according to fee title by the federal government until statehood.
The goal of Dr. Baughman, the principal officer of the Nevada Land Management Task Force was made clear at the 2015 Summit on Public Lands held in Las Vegas in September. In the words of Dr. Baughman, the state of Nevada “would not have a mandate like Federal agencies, we would have a mandate for net revenue generation.” When asked how, Dr. Baughman replied, “the most significant revenue source is the sale of disposable lands.” The Doctor advocates for a state land grab of American’s public lands.
One might ask, “what are disposable lands?” Basically they are any public lands that are not state or Federal monuments or wilderness areas. Such “land grabs” of our public lands would quickly lead to “for sale signs” and those signs will eventually lead to privatization.
Consider the mission statement of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over that of Dr. Baughman’s. “It is the mission of the BLM to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.” While no westerner thinks the BLM has done an impressive job, the thought of the American tradition of hiking, bird watching or hunting, trappings or fishing and the many other activities we all enjoy on our public lands would be lost forever. It would be replaced by a model that resembles the old-world style system where only the elite or the wealthy can pay to use the land to pursue the “kings” fish and game.