Let's consider land transfers
By Bruce Many
Published Thursday, December 8, 2016 9:51 am
Talk of transferring federal lands to the states has started once more. Some people express opposition because of the costs of wildfire suppression, which was over $2 billion in 2015 and is anticipated to keep increasing.
That is one of the numerous reasons why land transfers should be considered. Once the Forest Service logged lands to provide jobs and products, improve wildlife habitat, and increase forest health and fire resistance. Today, it too often lets forests be destroyed by insects, creating tinder for wildfire. Of course fire suppression costs have skyrocketed!
National forests once provided substantial revenue to the government. Now, because of reduced management, they are an ever-increasing drain upon taxpayers. In general, states do a much better job of managing lands for recreation, products and income.
Our founders realized the dangers of "the King's forests" and restricted the federal government's ownership, via the Constitution, to "post offices and post roads," "forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings," and authority over Washington, D.C. Nevertheless, our federal government now owns about a third of our land, is increasingly keeping human activities out of formerly "public land" and gives as much credence to "management" opinions of people who will never visit them as to local people.
Land transfers should definitely be considered.