I am writing to express the Public Lands Foundation's (PLF) opposition to the transfer of 1,640 acres of public land to the LDS Church (HCN, 9/30/02).
The Public Lands Foundation is a nonprofit national conservation organization whose members are from the general public and retired BLM employees, all who are interested in the proper multiple-use management of BLM lands. Many of our members are residents of Wyoming and Utah.
Martin's Cove is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is managed adequately by the Bureau of Land Management along with the Historic Oregon Trail, which the site is a part of. There is no justification to support the transfer of this site to private ownership.
The Bureau of Land Management has proven that they can manage this site and other such sites for all Americans to enjoy. The BLM has made a substantial investment of public funds at the site and has an adequate budget to properly protect and manage it.
In addition, the BLM and the LDS have a close relationship, working with the development of a trails system at the site under the helpful eye of John Greer, who is the property management person for the church. To our knowledge, he has been happy with BLM's cooperation and abilities.
We also note that the entire Wyoming delegation supports continued management by BLM.
George Lea, president, Public Lands Foundation