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Ways Not to Treat Our Lands

Living next to our first National Forest, one can’t help feel like a caretaker.  So when I see abuses, I  shake my head and wonder “who would do this?”  “How can they come out here to enjoy this vast awesome wilderness and throw their beer cans as they walk around?”  It makes no sense to me.

Hunters left this trashy campsite which I found today. Along with their empty shells there were plastic water bottles all around the site. I packed it out for them.

People use our public lands everyday.  They enjoy the great outdoors in a myriad of ways, from hunting and fishing to just lazing around in the camper next to an open fire.

There’s a movement in Congress that all of us–the public who cherish the outdoors–need to be aware of.  Many politicians are actively trying to privatize these lands.  What does that mean?  It means that there would be a wholesale sell-off of lands that belong to all of us.  And who could afford these lands?  Only the very wealthy.  Once those lands are private, they are gone forever.  No longer will we be able to hike, hunt, fish, bike, or walk over them.

Public lands are accessible to people of all income and walks of life.  Even now, in the great state of Wyoming where I live, things have changed over the last 20 years.  Where it was understood people could cross private lands to fish, and large ranches were owned by your local neighbors, now the only people who can afford these large tracts of land are the extreme wealthy.  They are the Bill Gates, the hedge fund owners, the Texas oil men.  My neighbor who owns all the bottom lands here doesn’t live here (I’ve never met them), rarely visits, runs cattle for a tax write off, and is among the 50th wealthiest individuals in the world.  If the Ryan budget has its way, much of the lands that are now open will be closed to everyone but the wealthy and their friends.

And that brings me back to what we all cherish.  These public lands are our generation’s bank account for our children.  We are only its’ stewards.   When people leave trash around, or tear up areas with ATV’s, or poach wildlife, or a myriad of other abuses, they are forgetting that these lands belong to you, me and everybody, and future generations.

Five ATVer's tore up this meadow on National Forest lands in Idaho

So, thanks for being a great steward. Enjoy OUR lands.


4 Responses

  1. Bill Gates is not a good example for this posting; perhaps Ted Turner with his efforts to overturn the stream access laws in Montana. Mr. Gates has given literally billions to philanthropic issues. Otherwise, I agree completely.


    • It is interesting that so many large ranches are being bought by foreigners. Several of the largest ranches in my area are owned by 1. a sheik 2. an italian family 3. a swiss family. If the govt. starts selling off our public lands, we might just find not only are they off-limits to public access, but our country’s lands are being sold off to foreigners.

      My comment about Gates was just a metaphor for all the plurals–the Bill Gates–that have tons of dough.


  2. Food and supplies are heavier when packing in, and sometimes also bulkier. If you can get it to a campsite or picnic site there is no excuse in not taking it with you when you leave. I am always quite disgusted when I see something like this, along with lands torn up by off road vehicles. It seems like there are more and more people who are only thinking of the “ME” and having no consideration for others, either today, or for the next generations to come.


  3. Yea, we live in the same area, on a road that sees probably less than a dozen vehicles a day, and we are always picking up tossed beer cans, water bottles, etc from along our property. This is most likely someone that lives in the area, which makes it even more annoying – why would someone who has chosen to come live way out in the boonies want to ruin it with trash?


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