This post involves information from Mac McConnell, Jay O’Laughlin and about the Valles Caldera experiment.
Solving these many and diverse local problems require local solutions based on local know-how. The current topdown,
one-size-fits-all land management by the feds has proven itself incapable of problem-solving at the forest
level. Removal of selected lands from federal oversight and transferal to local autonomous authority, similar to
state trust lands, would seem to be the most direct and efficient way – perhaps the only way – to secure reliable,
adequate funding and cut through the tangle of shifting, restrictive, and often conflicting laws, regulations,
executive orders, litigation, and judicial mandates that make federal management a hopeless cause.
Here is an in-depth look at this option, from Mac.
Jay O’Laughlin has also published some papers on trusts as a solution to some federal lands problems. Here is avery thorough one with charts and tables, and here is his testimony from a hearing in March. rough and one and here is his testimony at a Congressional hearing in March.
I’m interested in 1) what you think of the trust idea in general, and 2) whether you think a pilot might be feasible as a test case (or adaptive management). Perhaps O&C lands? Or somewhere else? Why would that area be good for a pilot?
3) What have we learned about trusts through the Valles Caldera trust experiment?
I was just reading about how:
from the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club, Caldera Action, National Parks Conservation Association, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Coalition of NPS Retirees, Audubon and others have been pushing to replace the current experimental trust management with the National Park Service since around 2007.
Many people feel Valles Caldera is a National Park-quality place and it could be well protected and a tremendous economic asset to Northern New Mexico when the National Park Service assumes management of the land as a preserve.
Maybe any place placed into trust would be a “non-National Park quality” place? But I wonder if to the NPCA,to the retirees, and to the Sierra Club everyplace is “National Park quality” either now, or once current users are removed.
The grazing language now reads that the National Park Service “shall” permit livestock grazing but the NPS will have full discretion about where cows can be, when, and how many.
So to a pilot, we would have to find a place that most folks would say is not “National Park Quality”. Perhaps lots of timbered country, no pretty canyons, lots of existing roads. In a state with existing land trusts. Perhaps Northern Washington or Idaho?