Caswell: Keep public lands in public hands

Here’s an essay by Jim Caswell from the Idaho Statesman. Caswell served as director of the Bureau of Land Management under Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. He also headed Idaho’s Office of Species Conservation under Govs. Kempthorne, Risch and Otter.





6 thoughts on “Caswell: Keep public lands in public hands”

  1. Great article. The comments; however, are what I find truly interesting. The rancor in this country, over so many different issues, seems to primarily stem from the fact that people just don’t understand how federalism works. If an issue is rooted in any law more complex than that found in an episode of Law and Order, people are lost. It’s all, “my rights” this, and “my rights” that, when the people talking about their rights don’t know a right, from a duty, from a privilege, from a license, from their left elbow. The moral of the story: rights without knowledge seem to breed contempt.

  2. Once again the annual Conservation in the West Poll reveals that a large majority of westerners are opposed to transferring control of federal lands to states (though omitting Idaho for some reason):
    (viewing the powerpoint is a quick way to look at the results)

    I hope that the Malheur story has made more non-westerners aware of the threats to their national public lands from anti-government zealots.

  3. Keeping public land in the hands of the public is the best way to ensure the safety of forests and natural resources. As America becomes more industrialized day by day, if the land was to be owned by the federal government, auctioning off the land would be an economic enterprise. People want and need more space to grow and westernize and auctioning of untouched public land is the perfect way for nature and its beauties to be disturbed. We, as humans thrive and benefit from these public lands just as they are today. So why change it? Why leave the public land in the hands of anyone with economic or other non preserving motives? We need the trees, the leaves, the dirt, the animals, and most of all the untouched beauty that our country pushes to eliminate everyday. Great essay Caswell !

    • I might agree, if the Feds would provide adequate funding. Pres. Obama’s 2017 budget request is less than the past 2 years:

      2015 enacted: $5.698 billion
      2016 estimate: $7.025 billion
      2017 request: $5.530 billion

      In the 2017 budget request, Wildland Fire Activities gets an increase, but land management is flat.

  4. I guess I don’t see a better option for conservation even if the Feds don’t provide adequate funding (at least at the scale of the National Forest System).

  5. Forest management by fire is what we gotten down to, and it all started with, “let it burn for resource benefit”.
    I was hoping that the Malheur occupation might lead to a better understanding of the frustration the rural west has with federal land management.
    I don’t think there is a great desire to privatize public lands. Who would end up with them? Large multinational corporations? Even the state of Oregon is trying to sell the Elliot state forest because of Cascadian Wildlands lawsuits. So it doesn’t seem the state’s could manage them.
    But there has to be a better way than putting up locked gates and setting it on fire.


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