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Know the West

Keep what's public public


One of the very best things about the West is the availability of public land for all kinds of outdoor recreation (HCN, 5/14/12,  "Sagebrush skirmish"). Conversely, a major shortcoming of the East is the lack of the same. Unfortunately, some of the very best public land has been misused and abused for decades by grazing, drilling, mining and logging.  If the long-shot effort to privatize public land actually happens some day, the recreating public will be the big losers, and corporate interests and big private landowners the winners. I believe that grazing, drilling, mining and logging on public land should always be challenged, because the land belongs to all of us, not the privileged few. And nearly every time these extractive and exploitive activities occur on public land, the land is depreciated, sometimes severely so, and frequently requires extensive remediation at public expense. Privatizing public land would be an enormously expensive mistake that we and our descendants would pay for -- in cash and lost opportunity.

Walt Foutz
Westminster, Colorado