Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Renews Support for Public Lands
Following a blistering criticism of America's public lands in Forbes magazine, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation renewed it's firm support to keep 'public lands in public hands.'
The article, titled 'The Best Deal Going; Privatize U.S. Public Lands', by columnist Steve Hanke contained statements highly critical of America's policy of public lands.
"These so-called public lands represent a huge socialist anomaly in America’s capitalist system. As is the case with all socialist enterprises, they are mismanaged by politicians and bureaucrats, who dance to the tune of narrow interest groups. Indeed, the U.S. nationalized lands represent assets that are worth trillions of dollars, yet they generate negative net cash flows for the government."
In response, Mark Holyoak, spokesman for the Missoula-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation said the article did not just call for transfer of management to the private sector, but actual sale of those lands to private owners.
"Our president and CEO saw that and was pretty concerned that that might get some traction," said Holyoak. "Those of us who live out here in these public lands know this is where we camp and hike, climb rocks, mountain bike, hunt, fish and do all those other things. So, it's very important for people to know how important it is for these lands to remain public."
Holyoak said the essential need for public ownership revolves around wildlife and habitat.
"We have nothing against private ownership," he said. "We all own our little places where we live, but that would highly frustrate wildlife management. There's a reason why we have the best system of wildlife management in the world because of what we have in place right now. Keeping these lands open and public requires them to be actively managed. We're seeing fires popping up here and there and it's important that we use management tools like fire, forest thinning and other things to benefit the landscape, for the health of our wildlife and for those of us who like access to it."
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, in his confirmation hearings, flatly stated that he was opposed to the privatization of America's public lands.