Fight to keep our public lands public

By Carol L. Nudell

Dear Editor:

There is language in the GOP platform and several bills before Congress to turn vast quantities of federal lands over to the states for resale to oil, gas and coal mining, as well as timber and other industries. We need to stand together to FIGHT and keep our public lands, public. Once this land is sold, it is then "Private Property -- No Public Access."

As residents of Delta County we enjoy a wide range of activities on federal lands -- hunting, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, ATV rides, horseback riding, photography and just plain enjoying our wild places. We have an abundance of opportunities and spaces to enjoy. So much so that we also have a year-round tourist industry. If we allow the sale of our lands to private industry all that goes away -- or comes at a fee.

Whether the BLM or the Forest Service, public lands are currently managed for ALL users, including the mining, ranching and forestry industries. The federal agencies also reclaim eroded and damaged range lands, waterways and drainages. They provide fire protection and security. They manage wildlife and endangered plant and animal species. All that goes away if our lands are sold and no longer protected.

These federal lands were incorporated into the Colorado Territory in 1861. The Constitution gives Congress the duty of managing the territories, which they do through laws handed down to regulatory agencies, who then manage the land in accordance with the law. This land is OUR land. It is up to every American to stand up and protect our lands.

Carol L. Nudell
Delta County