Sunday, October 12, 2008

Public lands

One issue that is very prevalent in my life is Public lands. And its something I am torn on. The libertarian in me knows that public anything is wrong and that all land should be private. Nobody knows the best way to manage land better than a private landowner. Letting politicians and bureaucratic organizations who have nothing at stake manage anything is, at best, inefficient, and at worst, dangerous.
BUT, at the same time I LOVE public lands. Thousands of square miles of beautiful country that I can explore, hunt on, hike on, camp on, shoot on, all right out my back door that I don't have to get permission to use and I can do nearly whatever I want on.
That doesn't mean there aren't rules, that just means "what I want" is within the confines of what little is actually allowed out there. In fact there are mountains of regulation governing public lands which, to me, takes away from the whole idea of them being public. Public would mean "owned by everyone". To me though, it feels more like "owned by the government but they kinda sorta let me use it".
But it's not just me and the other campers or hunters that want to use it. The thousands upon thousands of acres that the government owns but hardly uses contains vast amounts of mineral and petroleum resources, rangeland, and timber that everyone NEEDS. Well, to manage all of this land use, they put various federal and state bureaucracies in charge, most notably the Forest Service (USFS), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These guys are going to get paid no matter what happens on the land so there's nothing in it for them whether or not it gets drilled, forested, mined, or grazed. In fact operations like these taking place on their land are going to make life harder for them so its easier just to cave in to environmentalist pressure and designate the land as a wilderness or study area and close it completely. No exploitation, no motorized access, no nothing. Public land is suddenly not so public . . . while we pay taxes out the anus to fund their fat paychecks for their (mis)management and get no resources out of the deal either. When they do grant access to industry, there are so many regulatory hoops that the companies have to jump through that costs get passed onto the consumer like higher prices at the pump, higher wood costs, higher food costs, and higher material costs. All to keep their land from getting "raped". We are the ones getting raped instead.
One thing nobody seems to think about is the fact that the people who use the land are the ones who care about it. It is their bread and butter. They have no motivation to destroy it, and actually have more motivation to manage it well.
THIS ARTICLE illustrates exactly what I am talking about. It is written by one of the Wyoming representatives in US Congress John Barasso. Reading it made me feel ecxtatic knowing that not only is there someone who feels the same way I have always felt about the issue, but that this person is in office, making descisions that directly affect me and the state I live in. I only found this article because I was doing research on who to vote for this election. We have heard all we need to know on Obama and McCain. Its the smaller offices that may affect us even more. Do your research, find out everything you can and give full support to the candidates you believe in.

1 comment:


Great article. It is quite interesting through the guise of, all owning, a few regulate and rule. The proverbial wool is pulled over our countryman's eyes.