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Are Republican candidates in step with Americans on public lands?

One of many stunning views of the aretes – sharp peaks formed when two glaciers erode parallel valleys, or cirques – in Northeast Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness. During a trip organized by Caroline Pechuzal, AmeriCorps volunteer at the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute, 10 women backpacked through the area and engaged in daily writing exercises along the way. (Photos by EMILY MOORE / The Spokesman-Review)
One of many stunning views of the aretes – sharp peaks formed when two glaciers erode parallel valleys, or cirques – in Northeast Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness. During a trip organized by Caroline Pechuzal, AmeriCorps volunteer at the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute, 10 women backpacked through the area and engaged in daily writing exercises along the way. (Photos by EMILY MOORE / The Spokesman-Review)

PUBLIC LANDS -- Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have suggested they would support degrees of selling federal public lands or transferring federal lands to states to manage.

Similar proposals promoted during the Reagan administration by controversial Interior Secretary James Watt fizzled after being douced by overwhelming public opinion.

A recent poll conducted by Colorado College found support for public lands in the West continues to be deep, with 85 percent of Westerners agreeing that public lands play a large role in state economies.

Check out this High Country News Writers on the Range column, "Some politicians turn public lands into a political football," by William Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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