Americans are incredibly fortunate to have national forests, national parks, wildlife refuges and other lands that provide us with so much inspiration and fulfillment. I view public lands as a foundation of our democracy, and a place where all people are created equal. They are the public commons, the public good and a key fabric of this nation’s wild heritage.
I saw a sign at the recent public lands rally in Boise that read, “Second owner but proud owner.” Yes, it’s important to acknowledge that this land has been stolen from the First Nations. It was equally good to see both tribal members and non-tribal members at the large demonstration, and taking a stand to keep public lands in public hands.
Our history and future are interwoven with the land.
Many people are waking up to the threat that state legislatures and members of Congress pose to the public domain. These shortsighted, unpatriotic politicians are doing great disservices to all citizens when they attempt to pass legislation that would repeat history, and steal lands from the people.
Any attempt to dispose, sell, or exchange lands against the people’s will is an act of treason.
Another threat, however, is efforts to transfer management of public lands to the states. This may be more politically possible, but still unacceptable. Look for Rep. Raul Labrador to introduce legislation that will serve as a “test-pilot” and allow Idaho to “manage” a couple million acres of the national forests. Land grabs come in many forms.