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Blog

Our favorite stories about public lands and opportunities for you to get involved in protecting your outdoor experiences.

 

House Lawmakers Just Voted for the Public Land Heist

Tania Lown-Hecht

Last week, the public land heist took another dangerous step forward when the House Committee on Natural Resources voted to advance two bills to transfer portions of National Forests to state control.

Over the last year and a half, Outdoor Alliance has been tracking the public land heist closely and working to keep public lands public. Public lands provide access for millions of Americans to climb, hike, ski, paddle, and camp every year. The campaign to transfer ownership of our public lands to state governments threatens our access to the outdoors. Worse, it is an attack on our American heritage as collective owners of some of the country’s most inspiring landscapes. On Wednesday, the House Committee on Natural Resources voted to adopt two resolutions that aim to transfer, and pave the way to privatize or sell off, large swaths of National Forests.

These two bills (H.R. 3650 and H.R. 2316) would drastically increase logging on millions of acres of forests, and threaten eventual privatization. H.R. 2316 would allow states to take possession of a million acres or more of public land; instead of being managed by local land managers through a public process, the future of these lands would be decided by a committee of special interests appointed by the sitting governor. H.R. 3650 would prioritize logging and timber development over all other activities that happen on public lands and pave the way for potential outright sale. We all rely on resources, including timber, from our public land and balanced development on public lands is fine. But turning over hundreds of thousands of acres wholesale to states and private interests throws away this balance and cuts out the public entirely.

“Public lands are an incredible resource for the outdoor community. Our National Forests boast some of the best paddling, climbing, biking, skiing, camping, and hiking in the world. These misguided bills are an affront to anyone who loves the outdoors. They set the stage to privatize and sell off our public lands, which are one of the greatest resources we all share as Americans,” said Adam Cramer, Executive Director of Outdoor Alliance.

Bottom line: large-scale transfer and privatization of our National Forests could be just a few votes away. Take a moment and send a letter to your representative with our easy-to-use tool.