Outdoors

Beware of the not-so-subtle attack on public lands


Pack strings of horses and mules are the standard mode of transportation for hunters in the Bob Marshall Wilderness as well as for the Forest Service crews who maintain more than 60 trails in the wilderness used primarily by hunters in the fall.Pack strings of horses and mules are the standard mode of transportation for hunters in the Bob Marshall Wilderness as well as for the Forest Service crews who maintain more than 60 trails in the wilderness used primarily by hunters in the fall.
 (File/File/ / The Spokesman-Review)
Pack strings of horses and mules are the standard mode of transportation for hunters in the Bob Marshall Wilderness as well as for the Forest Service crews who maintain more than 60 trails in the wilderness used primarily by hunters in the fall.Pack strings of horses and mules are the standard mode of transportation for hunters in the Bob Marshall Wilderness as well as for the Forest Service crews who maintain more than 60 trails in the wilderness used primarily by hunters in the fall. (File/File/ / The Spokesman-Review)

THE LAND: As Will Rodgers put it, “They ain't making it no more.”

In his PBS documentary, National Parks: America's Best Idea, filmmaker Ken Burns vividly pointed out how a certain number of high-level naysayers have condemned the concept of preserving virtually every spread of now wildly popular public land from Arcadia to Yosemite.

And the naysayers are still around, emerging most recently and noticeably in the Republic presidential campaign.

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have tried to pander to a certain anti-government crowd by scorning the concept of public land — apparently oblivious to the public outrage that doused the Sagebrush Rebellion led by the Reagan Administration's short-lived Interior Secretary James Watt.

Last month, Romney said told a gathering in Nevada, “I don’t know what the purpose is” of the great American public land legacy — a domain that includes 190 million acres of national forests, 52 million acres of national parks, and more than 500 million acres of open range, wildlife refuges and other turf under management of the Interior Department.

That campaign swing was largely overlooked by the national press, but not by New York Times Western correspondent Timothy Egan, who takes them on and clearly explains the value of public lands in this op-ed piece

Check it out.

Also see this post about Political “Sportsmen” Stabbing Theodore Roosevelt In the Back.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


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.

By Rich Landers richl@spokesman.com (509) 459-5508


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