Are the feds land-grabbers?
According to a federal report, agencies such as the Forest Service, BLM and National Park Service manage 34 million acres more today than than they did in 1964. But that's only if you exclude Alaska, where 112 million acres left federal control due to statehood land promises and treaties with native Alaskans. If you include Alaskan land transfers, the total acres under federal management dropped by 77 million over the last 30 years. So how do you interpret the statistics? Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, who requested the study, says the report reveals alarming trends in the growth of federal land ownership. The report by Congress' research arm, the General Accounting Office, also finds that 44 percent of federal land is now protected by conservation, compared to 7 percent in 1964. But conserved lands include national parks, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, protected habitats and wild and scenic areas. The largest increases of federal land occurred in Nevada, Arizona and California, primarily due to the California Desert Act of 1994. For a free copy of Federal Lands: Information on Land Owned and on Acreage with Conservation Restrictions, GAO/RCED-95-73FS, write to the U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015, or call 202/512-6000.