October 17, 2021

RMEF on Public Lands Transfer

*Editor’s Comment* – It is understandable the RMEF would be looking out for their concerns as a “special interest group” however, one has to wonder if this position is in the best interest of all. In this presser, RMEF explains some of the reasons why the Federal Government is incapable, whether by choice or ineptness, to take care of the lands they directly control and yet, continue to support the insanity of doing the same thing and hoping for a different outcome. It’s also puzzling that a special interest group is calling on the government to manage Federal Lands void of pressures from special interest groups.

The issue is far more complicated than whether the states or the Feds can better manage the lands, but many of those issues are never discussed. For all the things the RMEF claims about how the Federal Government does and does not manage its lands, there is no discussion about the validity of claims that the Federal Government has zero intentions to do anything different. History shows us their continue efforts to grab more and more lands and then shut out access and limit or prohibit public access. Isn’t it their goal to manage those forests by not managing them? To insure there is scarcity and to limit or completely prohibit public access and multiple use? And yet, we are supposed to believe (there is no thinking) that if we just work harder at convincing government to do a better job, it will be done?

True insanity!

There once was a time with most people believed smaller government with more and more local control, all the way down to the individual, was in the best interest of all.

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—In light of recent legislative efforts seeking the sale or transfer of federal lands to state ownership, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation strongly maintains its opposition to such proposals.

“Nearly one-third of our nation’s land is in public ownership and that includes the majority of key elk habitat,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Transferring or selling these lands to states will do nothing to solve federal land management issues. It may also close the door to public access for hunters, anglers, hikers and others. We all want better public lands but this concept is not the answer. We take this issue very serious.”

RMEF Land Transfer Official Position

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation remains opposed to the wholesale disposal, sale or transfer of federal land holdings. Federal public lands comprise vital habitat for elk and other wildlife species. They are where we hunt, fish, camp, hike, ride and recreate. Transferring ownership of federal lands to states is not a solution to federal land management issues; it is a shell game to avoid the heavy lifting of establishing proactive land management policies in the United States.

What is the core issue motivating the transfer of these lands?
Lack of Active Management – People are frustrated with public land management for a variety of reasons, including: catastrophic wildfires, diminished access for recreation and sustainable resource development, incoherent game management policies that favor individual species over balanced wildlife conservation, endless litigation preventing active land management, executive orders creating national monuments and more.

What prevents active management of these lands?
Lawsuits – This is the era void of adult conversations taking place, avoiding any balanced remedies achieved. There are others who subscribe to “keep land management issues tied up in litigation” while the clock runs out; no matter what, do not negotiate, compromise or work together and nothing changes. Sadly, this is the era of political posturing using our natural resources as pawns; meanwhile the greater American outdoors is losing and so is the public. An overreaching use of environmental agendas exists to eliminate any consideration of multiple use in many public forests and the health of those national forests is suffering as a result.

Lack of Resolve – Some within public land management fundamentally oppose active management of forest and range resources in favor of “preserving landscapes.” RMEF believes certain landscapes must be conserved and managed to develop the types of diverse ecosystems elk and other wildlife need to thrive. Man inhabits the landscape thus we have an obligation to steward and manage our natural resources. Additionally, there is a diverse public who wish to recreate in the outdoors yet many are being restricted or limited today by special interests and agendas that strive to either substantially diminish use of our public lands or eliminate it all together.

Why can’t states manage these lands?
States cannot afford to manage federal lands on multiple levels. Land transfer proponents argue states can manage lands at less cost per acre than do their federal counterparts, while at the same time generating revenues for economic development and public schools through a “best use” determination.

Recent studies show states would need to increase timber harvests, mineral and other resource development well beyond sustainable levels to afford the management of these lands. And states would be forced to defend the same frivolous lawsuits the federal government currently faces, not to mention adherence to overreaching uses of the Endangered Species Act and other federal policies are not being discussed.

One question not being addressed at all is what will happen to hunting, fishing, camping, trapping, grazing and other current public land uses in some states should those states assume control over 100 percent of public lands within their borders? The simple answer is those activities will soon cease, causing a cascade of other complications and issues for wildlife and our public lands. The simple truth is groups like the Humane Society of United States (HSUS) and others would relish the idea of exerting political influence and litigation in various states to eliminate many uses of our public lands. This must never happen.

What are the solutions?
First, acknowledging the true problem is a must. We have critical land management issues that require solutions. Second, a commitment to truly resolve these issues must supersede special interests. RMEF believes the solutions lie in addressing obstacles to pro-active land management and providing federal land agencies the leadership, tools and direction to properly manage lands for a variety of environmental, recreational and economic interests.

A true dialogue and course of action to provide real forest management reform and multiple uses of public lands and forests is a must. The shell game of transferring or selling public lands is not a solution. These are public lands, owned by the public and it must remain that way.


Jets, helicopters, rockets: Military plans more uses of Northwest public lands

The military wants to expand its training footprint in Washington state, including public lands and waters. That’s bringing complaints from residents who worry about noise and other impacts.

Source: Jets, helicopters, rockets: Military plans more uses of Northwest public lands | The Seattle Times


Idaho judge holds Forest Service, top leaders in contempt

Idaho Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill has held the U.S. Forest Service and its top officials in contempt of court for failing to abide by his 2009 ruling against using recomendations of an advisory committee’s report on disease transmission between domestic and wild sheep.

Source: Idaho judge holds Forest Service, top leaders in contempt – Idaho – Capital Press


LePage Administration to Preserve Access to Public Land in the Katahdin Area

*Editor’s Note* – Dare I say, “I told you so?” With Quimby’s connections to Barack Obama, I said a long time ago that one way or another, Quimby will get her “park.” Why the persistence, I’m not sure. It seems that now Gov. LePage must have a sense that things are in the works in Washington. 

If the taxpayers own land, regardless of where that land is, it should have access to it for all citizens and should be managed properly by qualified foresters.

Press Release from Maine Governor’s Office:

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today the Bureau of Parks and Lands has taken initial steps to preserve the State’s access to roughly 2,500 acres of publicly held land that is threatened by efforts to create a National Park / National Monument in the Millinocket area.

For years, the Quimby family has worked to impose a National Park on the residents of Northern Maine. When this proposal was voted on by local citizens, it was roundly rejected. Undeterred by the will of the people, Quimby’s effort continues to march forward.

“Despite lack of local support and lack of support from members of Maine’s Congressional delegation, this proposal has now changed direction,” said Governor LePage. “Through the use of high-paid lobbyists in Washington, D.C., the Quimby family has focused its efforts on lobbying the Obama Administration, seeking to have the President use sweeping authority granted to him under the Antiquities Act to unilaterally designate this area a National Monument.”

Given this threat of federal takeover, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry today commenced efforts to re-establish access to Public Reserved Land surrounded by the Quimby property. The State has clearly established legal crossing rights to access the public’s land.

Despite these crossing rights, roads to the State’s land have been blocked and bridges have been removed. The Department, however, intends to re-establish its crossing rights and harvest timber on the public’s land, once these roads are rebuilt.

“The time is right to clearly re-establish the public’s legal rights,” said Governor LePage.


Public Dangers on Public Wild Lands

Private wildlands are governed by laws that are well-established. You need permission to be there if you are not the landowner. In contrast, As long as you move every two weeks, you can legally live in National Forests. All you need is a P.O. Box, a cell phone, some shelter and an $80 a year interagency pass to legally live on federal lands. http://www.fs.fed.us/passespermits/annual.shtml

Some studies by the University of Oregon have found that thousands of people are living in National Forests in that state, some just to save money, others to get away from the world. (link) No one knows just how many people are doing this nation-wide, but there are several Internet websites designed to help homeless folks who survive in the wilds, (link) and even a Wikihow Internet page with suggestions on how to survive life in the wilds.http://www.wikihow.com/Live-in-the-Woods

Source: Public Dangers on Public Wild Lands : The Outdoor Wire


RMEF Opposes Sale or Transfer of Federal Public Lands

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.-The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is concerned about the continuing rhetoric and political posturing surrounding the wholesale disposal, sale or transfer of federal land holdings, and stands in opposition to such potential action.

“Federal public lands are vitally important habitat for elk and many other species of wildlife. They are also where we hunt, camp, hike, and in some cases, make our living,” stated David Allen, RMEF president and CEO, in a recent letter to all members of Congress across the West. “The notion of transferring ownership of lands currently overseen by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or any other federal land manager to states, or worse yet to private interests, is not a solution to federal land management issues and we are opposed to this idea.”

RMEF maintains that transferring public lands to states to manage will not work for two primary reasons. The first reason is states are not equipped or prepared to manage these additional lands. The costs are enormous. Most states in the nation are in the red financially and do not have the funds to fight wildfire, treat noxious weeds and improve access. That shortfall will lead to the potential sale of public lands. The second major reason is transferring ownership of public lands does not address the real issues such as the lack of management or the constant barriers put forth by litigious groups.

“Calls for transfers of federal land are rooted in disappointment and disgust with the lack of balanced use and management of these lands today. Over the past decade, there has been a shift in the multiple use approach for the benefit of the most people and wildlife to a preservationist agenda advocated by small radical groups. Actively managed lands benefit people and wildlife, and in a specific case, reduce the impacts of wildfire, a national crisis at this time,” stated Allen.

RMEF calls on all members of Congress to stand up for the ongoing federal ownership of land and to further improve the situation by enacting legislation that creates specific strategic goals for the Departments of Agriculture and Interior to implement sound, active federal management.

“Federal public lands have always afforded the opportunity for Americans to hunt, hike, fish and enjoy the outdoors,” added Allen. “The RMEF wants it to remain that way.”


Fish and Wildlife Projects Canned In Favor of “Green” Projects

“It appears the federal agency entrusted with protecting fish and wildlife in the U.S. has a new mission – to promote and further wind and solar energy projects on public lands, despite the cost to fish and wildlife programs.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is one of several agencies under the umbrella of the Department of the Interior (DOI). In recent years DOI has evolved into a vehicle to further the Obama administration’s push for “clean” energy, using the more than 500 million acres the Department manages to further this goal.”<<<Read More>>>


The Case for a Little Sedition

“If the conservatives in official Washington want to do something other than stand by and look impotent, they might consider pressing for legislation that would oblige the federal government to divest itself of 1 percent of its land and other real estate each year for the foreseeable future through an open auction process. Even the Obama administration has identified a very large portfolio of office buildings and other federal holdings that are unused or under-used. By some estimates, superfluous federal holdings amount to trillions of dollars in value. Surely not every inch of that 87 percent of Nevada under the absentee-landlordship of the federal government is critical to the national interest. Perhaps Mr. Bundy would like to buy some land where he can graze his cattle.”<<<Read More>>>


John Podesta: Is He Somewhere Behind Bundygate?

“Clearly, the goal for Podesta and now the Obama Administration is the sabotage of our energy resources at the expense of the American people. According to the Washington Post, Podesta has recently met with Democrats behind closed doors to discuss where they can put federal lands off limit to development. And let’s not forget that Podesta was Chief of Staff for President Clinton, who put more land into national monuments than any other president before him. “The nostalgic memories of the Clinton administration are not so sweet for those of us in the West who are still trying to recover,” said Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah). Oil dependency internationally is continually a controversial issue, as conflict boils in many regions of the world and resource dependency places the U.S. in a problematic situation.”<<<Read More>>>


By The Company You Keep

*Editor’s Note* – The following by James Beers is another perspective and response to the letter I published yesterday about an effort to ban trapping on public lands. Please refer to my article for my view point and a copy of the letter Mr. Beers refers to in his article below.

By the Company You Keep

To whom it may concern:

The following letter from Mr. Gary Marbut, President of the Montana Shooting Sports Foundation was forwarded to me by Dr. Charles Kay, Wildlife Ecologist at my Alma Mater, Utah State University. I consider them both good friends and front line allies in the war (the correct word) to save rural America’s culture and traditions as well our Constitutional rights. I hold each of them in the highest regard.

Mr. Marbut is writing the letter a Montana State lawyer/bureaucrat to resist an initiative in Montana to ban trapping on public lands.

Trapping has always been a prime target by animal rights radicals and environmental extremists for eradication as a third (after introducing deadly and destructive predators and banning guns) step in destroying rural American economies, families and property values. A little tale about trapping and those that would eradicate it is in order.

In the late 1990’s near the end of the reign of President Clinton, the 2nd woman (oh there is such joy in remembering that “achievement”) Director of US Fish and Wildlife Service and her (former Congressional staffer) Assistant in charge of the millions in state excise taxes stolen from state fish and wildlife programs only a few years earlier were outraged when the European Union backed down from a 6-year threat to ban all furs from the US, Canada and Russia unless they banned the leghold trap.

Now the leghold trap is the only effective, tried and true method to harvest the annual renewable take of furs by private trappers for the fur market and the best control method by private and government control agents to catch and transfer or kill deadly, destructive and harmful animals. The US was the largest exporter of furs followed by Canada and then Russia. Europe was the largest importer of furs in the world. UN politicians and bureaucrats were bribed and cajoled by the same radicals and extremists behind all the government campaigns that are destroying Rural America as I write this. The Director at the time and her Assistant were in the pockets of those radicals, thus their outrage about the European Union back-down since they has been promising the radicals and extremists that they would be successful.

During the final year of the reign of President Clinton, the Assistant met with White House and OMB politicos and tried hard to get an Executive Order signed by the President BANNING TRAPPING ON ALL FEDERAL LANDS. He was unsuccessful mainly, I guess, because a Presidential Election was right around the corner and the trapping ban and all the inevitable economic loss to trappers and furriers (many, many millions) plus the inevitable explosion of animal damage without any available remedy was sure to cause significant vote ripples.

So the other Party got elected anyway, and the erstwhile Director and the “Assistant”? The Director, who had made the Defenders of Wildlife THE federal wolf damage compensation Pooh-BA (a radically questionable move making it impossible for her to go to work for them for 3 years) was hired by the National Wildlife Federation (mouthwash, please) in a high-paying non-job from which she was “let-go” with a golden parachute “package in 2 years and after a one-year hiatus was hired by (guess-who?)
the Defenders of Wildlife where today she reigns as Queen of DOW.

And, what of the Assistant? He was kept around as a “Science Advisor” for 8 years by the reputed “opposition” party until the current Party took over despite all the mess Bush left. Soon the old “Assistant”/”Science Advisor” was named Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service where he reigns as he “services” the rest of us, especially Rural America.

So, I ask you: if we are known by the company we keep, who do you stand with? Is it two brave American heroes like Mr. Marbut and Dr. Kay or two ne’er-do-wells like the Queen of the Defenders of Wildlife and the Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service?

As for me, I stand with Mr. Marbut and Dr. Kay and ask you to do the same. We truly are known by the company we keep.

(Mr. Marbut’s letter follows.)[Please follow this link for a copy of the letter in reference.]

Jim Beers
27 January 2014

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Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: jimbeers7@comcast.net