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


5 More Things You Need to Know About the Public Land Heist

Tania Lown-Hecht


If you haven’t read our first post on the public land heist, check it out now. Here are 5 more things to know about the public land heist, including who's behind it, and what they really want to do with our public lands.

1. The public land heist is real and this bad idea is spreading.

Recent presidential candidates have made headlines by advocating for selling off public lands. And this article highlighted 8 recent examples of efforts to give away publicly-owned lands, including bills to study how much profit a state could make from selling land to mining companies in one of Utah's prime recreation hotspots. 

2. Public lands guarantee our access to hike, bike, camp, run, ski, climb, and play.

Public lands are a national resource, and collective ownership means that all Americans shoulder a fraction of the cost of maintaining public land so that we can all enjoy it. The Forest Service and national land management agencies are required to protect access and recreation on public lands, but this is not true on state lands. In some states the vast majority of state-owned land is not open to the public, and even awesome state parks can charge significant fees to access. In contrast, the majority of public lands are free and the public has a right to enjoy them. The recent example of Oregon selling off Elliott State Forest to raise revenue could happen to many more beloved outdoor places.  

3. When we don’t share ownership, we lose access.

Taking care of land—maintaining trails, keeping local rangers with their boots on the ground, and managing forest fires—is expensive. Most state governments can’t afford to manage these lands and keep them open to outdoor activities. If the residents of a single state are forced to shoulder the burden of managing large tracts of protected land, it almost guarantees higher fees, parcels of land mined or developed, or even selling off whole tracts in order to manage the costs within more restrictive state budgets.

4. But the truth is, the land heist is not about state management at all. It's about profit.

Proponents of the public land heist claim that this is a “management” issue, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This fringe campaign is organized by powerful private interests, including wealthy extractive industries, who want to make private profit off our national public lands. Using the guise of “state rights” rhetoric, they are determined to privatize public lands and reap the profits.

5. If you love public lands, it's simple to take the first step to keep them public.

Sign the petition today, and join thousands of other outdoor enthusiasts who are standing up to protect public lands and keep them public.