Reminder: As we mentioned here earlier, there is a rally at noon this Saturday, September 27, in Helena to protect access to public lands. The immediate trigger for this event is a movement within Montana to give up federal lands to state control. Such a move would mean a sharp increase in the state bureaucracy, a hefty bump in the tax burden and, more than likely, lead to much of the land being sold off to private interests to help finance the whole mess. Everyone from traditional hunting and fishing groups, to motorized recreation outfits to old-line enviros is pretty wound up about this.
Legislatures, both state and federal, have a long history of giving serious consideration to bad ideas. The latest in the list as far as Montana is concerned is the movement to demand that federal lands be turned over to state control. The states, in turn, would auction management of these lands off to private control.
Yep, that’s right. They’re talking about privatizing your public lands. Someone has been smoking that wacky terbaccy, I guess.
There are several things you can do about this.
Get hold of your local state senator and representative and explain that you really don’t like the idea of giving away to private ownership the lands where you work and recreate.
Read John Gatchell’s excellent “Public Lands in Private Hands?” article. Follow the links and instructions he provides to comment on the spurious land privatization “study” the legislature has posted for public comment. The deadline for comments is September 16.
The Montana Wilderness Association (who has really taken the point on this land privatization issue), along with a bunch of other organizations, is holding a rally in Helena on September 27, which just happens to be both National Public Lands Day and National Hunting and Fishing Day. Show up and help folks explain to our legislature that giving away our public lands to private concerns is a Really Bad Idea. For more information, see the National Public Lands Day Rally Facebook page.