Over at the The Mallard of Dicontent, I found this great letter that was apparently printed in the Lewistown, Montana News-Argus discussing recent Republican proposals to "privatize" all federal lands. A special shout out to Chad Love who writes The Mallard of Dicontent blog and who has been standing up for public lands, wildlife, conservation, and hunting for a long time.
LEWISTOWN NEWS-ARGUS :: April 11, 2015
Look to European model for land ownership
I am extremely disappointed that more of Montana’s citizens are not enthusiastically supporting the efforts of the majority leadership in the Montana Legislature, recently joined by our junior U.S. senator, to divest the federal public lands and transfer them to the state. This transfer to the states should be but a brief prelude to their sale and privatization, so they can be put to proper use by America’s wealthy.
We should applaud the efforts of these representatives and their financial backers to return the public estate to private ownership. For over 200 years, the United States has increasingly strayed from its European roots and traditions of exclusive private land ownership by the wealthy and gentry.
The silliness of President Theodore Roosevelt’s National Forest, National Wildlife Refuges and other conservation innovations can be put aside in this great effort to revert to the European model of land ownership and resource management.
As Montana’s population and its out-of-state ownership grow, there simply won’t be enough high quality hunting and fishing for everyone. As these amenities become more coveted it makes sense that we cash them in for the enjoyment of the most deserving – those who can pay.
The European model of fish and wildlife ownership by the privileged and hunting and fishing for the wealthy and their friends is a good use of these commodities and maximizes their economic value.
Alas, there will always be public land. It is inevitable that some of the arid, ugly lands devoid of game and sport fish will not be sold. Here the public can cling to this ill-considered land use.
Ancillary benefits to privatization of the public lands include the jobs that are created in an increasingly difficult economy. The vast, private estates will require gillies and gamekeepers. Enormous numbers of employees will be required to fence and patrol these lands against trespass. People will be needed to conduct the driven bird and game shoots. Privatization will eliminate all this fuss about public access. Seemingly, endless time is wasted on these access issues. Your newspaper alone will save barrels of ink.
We need to get behind this effort to privatize the public lands and get back to the model of European hunting and fishing.
A. Richard Hunter, Lewistown