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5 Things You Need to Know About the Public Land Heist


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


5 Things You Need to Know About the Public Land Heist

Tania Lown-Hecht

Across the country, a battle is looming over the sale of a huge swath of America’s public lands—putting millions of acres (and the recreation opportunities they offer) under siege.

1.     America’s mountains, forests, and rivers belong to everyone.

Public lands belong to all Americans. They are home to stunning climbing, paddling, hiking, skiing, biking, and camping that everyone can access. Together, Americans care for these special places, protecting them so that everyone can enjoy them, including the next generation.

2.     Some politicians would like to sell off public lands to generate profit for individual states or private entities.

Right now, a handful of out-of-touch politicians backed by private interests like the American Lands Council have launched an aggressive campaign to dispose of America’s public lands. They have introduced dozens of bills in 11 western states that demand that the public “turn over” millions of acres of public land to state governments.

3.     State governments could privatize, sell, develop, or auction off our public lands to the highest bidder.

If our public lands were sold to state governments, they would be the responsibility of state taxpayers to maintain and protect. A single wildfire can cost $100 million to fight, which could force states to sell or auction off land to cover the costs. Imagine if the place you love to hike, climb, paddle, ski, bike, or camp were suddenly sold to a private landowner or a real estate developer.

4.     The public land heist is gaining momentum in western states and in Washington DC.

Although some state legislatures voted down land transfer bills, the idea of selling off public lands is gaining momentum. In Congress, a symbolic amendment supporting the sale of public lands passed this spring. These bills challenge the foundation that underpins National Parks, National Forests, and public access to wild places. The Public Land Heist is the most serious threat that has faced our public lands in a generation.

5.     We need to speak now to protect the places we love to play.

If our mountains, forests, and rivers are privatized or sold off, there’s no replacing them. Voice your support for public lands by signing the petition today. By signing, you will become part of a growing movement of people who are working together to keep public lands public.