On Monday, the Associated Press broke a story titled “Proposal to transfer federal land to states worries outdoor enthusiasts” that makes a ridiculous claim:
A change in U.S. House rules making it easier to transfer millions of acres of federal public lands to states is worrying hunters and outdoor enthusiasts who fear losing access.
The story goes on to quote liberal professor John Freemuth, who is deeply involved with the Andrus Center for Public Policy, founded by Cecil D. Andrus, a former Democrat Idaho governor and U.S. secretary of the interior.
“Anybody who uses them for any kind of outdoor activity — snowmobiling, mountain biking, hunters, all that — they’re very alarmed by all this,” said Boise State University professor and public lands policy expert John Freemuth. “The loss of access that this could lead to.”
The rule passed by the House defines federal land that could be given to states as “any land owned by the United States, including the surface estate, the subsurface estate, or any improvements thereon.”
But nothing could be further from reality.
Outdoors enthusiasts have been part of a majority of Americans who oppose Bureau of Land Management control of public lands The BLM is well known for its use of deceptive tactics and maneuvering to limit public access and uses of areas of land under its control.
In addition to a majority of citizens, especially in the West, who are against current BLM management practices and the federal government’s continued annexation of public and private lands — only to then limit public uses and access, contrary to the sales pitch they offer — numerous organizations and local governments oppose the ludicrous proffering of people like professor Freemuth.
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The public opposition arguably forms a voting majority, which is why the BLM savors presidential monument designations and expansions, which disenfranchise voters from the management of their public lands.
Nevertheless, the opposition to the use of the Antiquities Act for land grabs, such as the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument expansion, includes but is not limited to HealthyForests.org, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, the Southern Oregon Timberman’s Association and the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Shockingly and in stark contrast to the ridiculous allusions by Freemuth that states cannot fund the basic maintenance for access roads into public lands, one of the many tactics employed by the BLM to eliminate access into public lands by outdoors enthusiasts is by way of road closures, supposedly because of a lack of BLM funds to maintain the roads!
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In February 2016, as reported in the Medford Mail Tribune in Oregon, the assistant director of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Joel Brumm, testified before Jackson County commissioners and stated that many roads into the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument would have to be closed because they did not have the funds to maintain those access roads. Yet they somehow happen to have the money to buy up more privately owned lands.
Brumm presented two arguments in the pitch to justify the highly questionable proposed road closures, which opponents have vigorously asserted would severely limit access for all outdoors enthusiasts, including the disabled and elderly users of the existing roads essential for their access.
In the Mail Tribune article, Brumm was quoted as saying that in addition to not having the funds needed to maintain existing roads, “If we don’t take action to reduce road densities, these environmental groups will take us to court — and we will lose.”
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The truth is that special-interest environmental groups, led by liberal professors like John Freemuth, are the ones actually limiting access into public lands to a select few, without any real regard for the rights of the older folks or handicapped people who also pay for and deserve access to the same public lands, and who cannot hike for miles to reach areas for their selected forms of recreation, including hunting, fishing and bird-watching.
As we see, political operatives like Freemuth spin the truth and proffer misconceptions to empower an agenda to separate a majority of Americans from their public lands.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.
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