Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Public Land Lockup

As reported in High Country News (Dec. 2013), there are over 4 million acres of public lands "locked out" from public access. How does this happen? Some of the reasons go way back in time to the settlement era and others have to do with how land is sold and traded. The biggest problem is that we have "public lands" that are more of a "backyard" playground for the adjacent landowners, than anything else. The federal agencies do have land trade and purchase programs in place, but unfortunately crucial funding sources for these efforts (Land and Water Conservation Fund) are all too often diverted by Congress. These funds come from (by legislative mandate) offshore oil and gas leases to maintain natural resources in the U.S. Each year $900 million in revenue is deposited in this fund for natural resource allocation.

I encourage you to push your reps to secure these funds as was originally intended in 1965.

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