There is so much talk about who should own public lands and how they should be managed (“This Land Is Their Land,” HCN, 2/2/15). I recommend a great book, The Big Burn, by Timothy Egan. In it, Egan outlines how Teddy Roosevelt was farsighted enough to see that all Americans deserve access to certain lands. He knew that railroad barons would end up with most of it, if something were not done to protect it. Nowadays, the backpacker from New Jersey has just as much right to public-land use as the local cattle rancher, miner or ATV rider. If Westerners had to have all the factories to produce the products we use (in our backyards), Utah would look a little bit more like, well, New Jersey.

David Poling
Grand Junction, Colorado

High Country News Classifieds