I don't believe the state has the funding to ensure our lands are kept intact. However, clearly the current approach is failing.
So I guess my question is how do we keep it public but drastically change course with current practices? The "keep it public" movement will lose support if practical approaches cannot or will not be embraced by the Federal bureaucrats.
Like you I'm not interested in an argument only solutions to maintaining public lands but also seeking means to better manage our resources. I believe the "keep it public" movement (which I'm in total support) will lose legitimacy if we as conservationists don't highlight the backward approach to current land management policies. Such policies as I see it: 1. Persistent threat of environmental lawsuits 2. Federal land administrators discourage logging, thinning of trees/brush, and controlled burns 3. $2.5 billion/yr spent on fire suppression Groups like American Lands Council are a threat to the "keep it public" movement. However, they do rightly highlight these aforementioned backward practices. And if we don't begin to acknowledge the current approach to land management is severely lacking, we jeopardize losing folks in support of federal public lands.
Admittedly, I'm no more than a keyboard warrior that loves the outdoors. And in comparison to a Randy Newberg and all other public land advocates my voice doesn't amount to much. However, I do believe these are important issues which will ultimately determine if the "keep it public" movement is successful.
One thing is certain and that is that a sell off of public lands to private interests is not going to solve wildfire problems and it's not going to take the financial responsibility for fighting them away from the public (taxpayer) sector.
Still just my opinion, I don't pretend to be a deep thinker! :>)
Poor management is in the eye of the user. You may be looking at management from a hunting perspective, but I would say forest managers are doing a pretty decent job considering the number of different user groups they have to appease and especially considering the wildly varying views of "good management". Forest managers have to deal with locals, the timber industry, hunters, fishermen, hikers, environmentalists...all wanting the same thing-their interests served first.
With regards to the environmentalists and their frivolous lawsuits. Be careful who you point your finger at. Say what you will but if there is one group hunters owe a huge debt of gratitude in the public lands debate, it is the environmental group. They mobilize quickly, get the job done and they fight HARD. Most of the time a forest manager's biggest hurdle is the NIMBY (not in my back yard) groups. This has nothing to do with political affiliation. Conservatives and liberals are equally to blame for this. Try getting a permit for a timber harvest, mine or controlled burn behind a high end mountain subdivision and get ready for an epic legal battle.
"The "keep it public" movement will lose support" Do you really believe that? The battle for federal land ownership has largely been won thanks to sportsman, conservationists and environmental groups. The real battle now is influence over management practices.
how, exactly, are left-led environmental groups financially supporting themselves with these lawsuits? left, right, whatever - in my experience, most environmental groups are all for keeping lands public and not demolishing them for resource harvesting. that leads to pristine public lands that people like us, sportsmen and the like, can enjoy. you might not agree with every approach they take. but i find their approach far more palatable than the one Secretary Zinke is seemingly pursuing - development of land for the profit of companies, not people. See whats happening in Wyoming with the recent Sage Grouse debate. or go look into the issue surrounding the transfer of federal lands to states. or go look into him and Trump talking about downsizing national monuments so they can pursue mountain top removal coal mining and oil and gas exploration.
and before anyone jumps on me and starts assuming more about me than i let on in this post - i work in energy. im a natural gas analyst. my company covers everything from coal, to gas, to solar.
lastly, fires are a part of life. our winters are getting warmer, so the pine beetle is spreading. throw in the drought in montana, and youre living in a virtual tinder box. im not sure this is so much management practice as it is a natural following of what happens when a shit ton of trees die and no rain falls.
I believe we can improve our current approach. We have the science, manpower, technology and markets needed to do this work safely and successfully in an environmentally sound way. Unfortunately, the small-scale forestry projects the Forest Service is currently conducting aren't making a dent.