Serious nonsense over public lands


With summer approaching, it’s a good time to reflect on the value of our system of public lands — a heritage unmatched anywhere in the world and one that owes much of its strength to the 1906 enactment of the Antiquities Act.

… These history lessons come to mind courtesy of Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.). He’s the latest in a long line of Western demagogues who’ve tried to make a career out of opposing greater protections for federal lands and whipping up anti-Washington fervor with nonsensical talk of federal land grabs.

… We (westerners) may spend a lot more time than other Americans hunting, camping, hiking, snowshoeing, fishing and skiing on Western public lands — but even though they’re close to home, those vast resources aren’t ours. We have no more claim to them than residents of Washington have over the C&O Canal or the George Washington National Forest. Every square foot of federally managed land — east, west, north or south — is owned in common by all of us and held in trust for the generations to come.