I’ve been thinking about why National Parks get such good press (e.g. America’s Best Idea)(check out this essay that suggested that the Emancipation Proclamation might have been America’s Best Idea ;)) , and the BLM and Forest Service, not so much. In terms of federal public land, BLM and the Forest Service make up (according to this document) 439,018,000 acres . While documents like this one by the BLM say that the Park Service has 83 million acres, back to this “by state” document, it appears that the Park Service has 194 million acres. All this is very confusing. Does anyone know one document that is complete and accurate?
In this helpful blog post by the Department of the Interior, they make the claim that the National Wildlife Refuges are “America’s Best Kept Secret.” Which is kind of ironic, because on the blog post, their own Department doesn’t mention BLM multiple use lands.. which are the very lands that make up the greatest number of acres, and probably most people use. I guess if they are not the “Best Kept Secret, they must be the Interior version of “Public Lands on the Down Low.”
I think it could be argued that taking more than 1/8 of the land area and making it available for public use for the people of the United States was also a Very Great Idea. However, Pinchot’s ideas and the way the BLM got the land are different, so they weren’t actually the same Idea. Nevertheless, here we are in 2017 and the MUPLs (multiple use public lands), although fraught with controversy (but Parks have those also?) still provide most of the recreation, as well as a variety of other uses that contribute to the well being of people and communities. It sounds crazy, right? Taking huge chunks of the country and putting them in the public estate, and having people more or less get along in deciding what to do with them, and which uses are to be favored where, and even which areas are to be set aside for a few uses or to remain “natural”. Perhaps Multiple Use Public Lands were America’s Most Socialist Idea, or Craziest Idea or.. you can see I’m looking for ideas about the Idea.
Comments and suggestions encouraged:
- Where to get the correct acreages by state in one place.
- Are large amounts of Multiple Use public land the “” Idea? Your opinion.
- If you know acreages of public land in other countries, especially with similar kinds of management, that would also be helpful.