Alarmed by consensus

  Dear HCN,

I am alarmed by the collaborative approach described in the May 13 issue and praised by Karl Hess Jr. in the May 27 issue.

Though born and raised in the Rocky Mountain West, I moved East to work and live here happily, though I return West as often as possible. As a supporter of the national environmental movement, I believe that collaborative efforts, especially as envisioned by Westerners like Mr. Hess, ignore the interests of the vast majority of federal landowners - Americans living outside the West.

It would appear that many in the West believe they have a unique claim to federal land. They don't. The land was set aside for the use and enjoyment of all Americans and should be managed according to laws enacted by the U.S. Congress and the president, who are elected by the American majority.

Collaborative efforts have their place in issues involving private, county and possibly even state land, and federal resource managers should consult with local interest groups. But such systems can never replace stewardship of federal land by resource managers responsible to its owners - all the American people.

Gail Stephens

Severna Park, Maryland