4 myths about America’s parks and public lands

Fact-checking four of the most pervasive myths used by anti-conservation land takeover proponents.

As presidential hopefuls tour the country, some candidates are spreading false rhetoric about our national public lands, how they originated and to whom these lands “rightfully” belong. The standoff at Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has shed light on the extremist views of a vocal minority, but the reality is that most Americans do not agree with the agenda to turn our national public lands like parks, forests and refuges over to state and local authorities.

Below are four factually incorrect statements about public lands and responses to them from leading property law, land policy and economic experts from across the West. Complete article is here…

Myth: The federal government “owns” a vast majority of acreage in the West, locking Americans off lands that rightfully belong to them.

Fact: Our national public lands already belong to all Americans, who may access them at any time for recreation and enjoyment.

Myth: The U.S. government is obligated give these lands back to western states, their rightful owners.

Fact: The claim that the U.S. government is under any legal obligation to give some or all of the public lands to western states lacks any credible legal foundation.

Myth: The idea of states taking over public lands is popular in the West and will improve the economy.

Fact: State control of our shared public lands would result in loss of access to places that support a $646 billion-dollar economic engine in America every year.

Myth: States can afford to manage large areas of public land.

Fact: Taking over public lands would cost states millions of dollars every year and force increased commodity development to cover the fiscal shortfall.

 

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