All of this talk about welfare rancher Cliven Bundy has fueled the debate about the federal government relinquishing its control of federal lands. The state of Utah is pushing this with legislation and threats of a lawsuit.
Those in favor of the feds relinquishing federal lands always cite states rights and suggest the states can manage these lands more efficiently. At the same time, they maintain the states would benefit from increased extractive activities to fund schools.
I question the validity of both of those claims. Let us remember that most federal lands (BLM and Forest Service) are multiple-use lands that are managed by federal agencies for the benefit of all. This federal land is one of the things that make Utah such a great place!
Drive for 30 minutes east or west of Salt Lake City, and you can be just about in the middle of nowhere free to hike or camp just about any place you want. That is freedom and that is what Cliven Bundy and state Rep. Ken Ivory want to take from us. Ivory recently said that the federal government in Utah should turn federal lands over to the state or to private owners much like was done in Florida, Illinois and Nebraska.
Next time you go deer hunting or hiking or camping, you are likely doing it on federal land managed by one of these agencies. If you are opposed to federal land, try and live someplace where there is none and see how much you can enjoy the outdoors. Try going camping to get away from it all in Illinois.
Out here in the West we have these public lands, and we’re lucky to have them. Let’s not let these Sagebrush Rebellion types like Bundy or Ivory take our public lands away.
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