I’m going to flirt with a self-imposed line on this one. You don’t visit this site for political opinions, so I generally make a conscious effort to avoid them at all costs – sometimes, I think, to the detriment of a piece. Occasionally, however, issues require discussions of a political nature if understanding is what we’re after.
Lately, the issue of public land transfer has come back to the forefront. To set the stage, it’s important to understand that public lands in the US are held in trust by the federal government for the public. They’re held in trust for you, for me, and for future generations. While a large majority of public land is in the West, those of us in the East are not immune to these concerns. Particularly in the southern Appalachians, large swaths of land are managed by the Forest Service.
Are they managed as efficiently and effectively as they could be? Of course not. But is transferring them to the states a better solution? What about privatization? I don’t think so.
For more information on the topic, I’m going to point you toward a few organizations that have a much more educated perspective on the topic than me. The first two are opposed to land transfer, and the third one is in favor. All I’m asking is that you take a few minutes to learn more about the issue. I think you’re going to be hearing more about it in the news over the next couple of years.
Public land transfer is not about giving this land back to the people; it already belongs to us.