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Who determines what’s legally ‘scenic?’

Letter to the Editor

The “scenic” picture of the Walla Walla area featured in the Dec. 20 Tribune brought to mind the subject of “scenic easements,” the instruments used by the U.S. government to control private property that they don’t own. I question the validity of these easements and believe they are devious at best and unconstitutional at worst.

First, who determines what is legally and actually “scenic;” and what gives the government the right to circumvent our Article 1, Section 8, rights to limit government acquisition of our lands for other than military defense of our country? The bureaucratic point of view seems to run along environmentalists’ virtual demand of no human imprint of any kind on any government controlled land they deem “scenic.” I suggest that the first above mentioned picture is scenic only due to the human imprint contained in it; and that without the red barn, the small building near it, the powerline poles with a transformer and the snow-plowed road with auto tracks going down the wrong side of the road, it would be a rather bland shot of some snowfall.

“Scenic easements” should not prohibit human and/or agricultural development, even if by some stretch they are held to be legal.

C.M. “Chuck” Vogelsong



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