Although a minority of people are opposed to public lands in America, a new campaign to "keep it public" supports keeping these lands in the hands of the people.
As most of you probably already know, our public land system has come under scrutiny from a variety of people. I'm sure there are some hunters and anglers out there reading this article who are in support of selling our public lands. In reality, those who would sell our public lands, or transfer their ownership to states, is surely the minority. Although this group is the minority, they have recently gained the nation's attention with their unhappiness.
In an effort to promote the current system of public land ownership, a group named Backcountry Hunters and Anglers has begun a campaign called "Keep it Public." Of course the goal of the campaign is just that, keep our public lands public.
Here is a brief video the group has posted as part of their effort.
The message behind the video is clear, you own this land, and it is some of the most beautiful and wild land in our country, why would you want to sell it?
You own the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the Redwood forest, and a million spots in between. Lakes, mountains, rivers, plains, and so much more is already yours, and ours collectively. If you owned any of these spots individually, why would you sell it?
Some opponents argue against the cost of maintaining these lands. In 2016 the Department of the Interior requested $13 billion for operations. This department also claims to earn more revenue than it spends, as sited on page DH-10 of the previous link. But even not considering the revenue earned, $13 billion of a $3.8 trillion budget works out to around .3 percent. To put that into perspective, it would be like trying to lose weight and eliminating just one bite of one potato chip in your daily diet in order to do so. That's a diet plan that just won't work. In the spending department there really are bigger fish to fry as well.
The truth is the main arguments against public lands have for the most part been settled. It might be true our current system needs some revisions and isn't perfect. There are large amounts of people such as ranchers and loggers who depend on the resources of these lands, and their grievances should be addressed. But does that really require a liquidation of all these lands?
There are lots of positives that come from having public lands and they are an invaluable jewel bestowed to the common men and women of America. Not only should we not sell them, but we hopefully can get out and enjoy them as much as possible. With some luck you'll soon be able to load up your gear and go enjoy some of these lands you've inherited. Keep it public folks.
"Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us."
What are your thoughts on the issue? Let us know!