I have to take issue with another Free Press columnist, Dexter Gill, over his views on public lands. He seems to believe they should be privatized or turned over to the states to manage. Maybe he hasn’t traveled very much. Let’s start with Texas, one huge state in anyone’s eyes. Yet you cannot hunt anywhere down there or even have a picnic under the trees. Almost all of that vast state belongs to one private party or another. Why do you think so many Texans come here to hunt, picnic, hike, boat and enjoy our great outdoors?
I once worked for a huge company that paid me very well to fence people out of the outdoors. This company didn’t even buy the public land they used, they leased it for their benefit. We have a number of them here on the Western Slope of Colorado. Try to cross the areas of the CO2 plants without permission. If you become unruly when they herd you to the exit, you can be prosecuted.
At the head of Cottonwood Canyon up in the Glade of the San Juan National Forest, there is now a noisy facility with fences and Keep Out signs. One year I got a nice elk just about where that facility is. I am sure if it so happened that I shot an elk or deer today just outside the fence that now exists, there would be some ramifications. And anyone would be questioned if he were to walk around the premises and especially if you took out your camera and innocently took a picture to send to someone in another state to show what has happened to bar us from that location.
There are approximately 7 billion people on this planet and most of them have no wilderness to enjoy. We are fortunate to live in a country that does have a great deal of public land. We would not have the giant sequoias to hold in awe if it weren’t for John Muir and others stopping the loggers from cutting them all down.
Those trees are now in danger of becoming extinct, however, because some in this country do not believe in global warming. For instance, the Oklahoma senator who carried in a snowball to prove his point that the world isn’t getting hotter. It was winter – you do get snow in December, at least for now. People like him think the Koch brothers are Santa Claus – they will bring gifts, glitter, and prosperity. Truth be known, they will run over us like an 18-wheeler does a prairie dog.
Who do you think has an interest in that facility at the head of Cottonwood Canyon? Don’t even try to find out if I’m right or wrong – the truth is buried so far down in paperwork and corporate labyrinths that they may not even know. How many names has the facility built by Shell been known under in its 30-year life? Every time energy companies change the name through the sale of a facility there is a cost to the consumer and a tax break for the company.
As I stated, I worked for an international company that built such facilities. There were so many different changes they used up most all the colors in the crayon box on the checks.
Giving over our public land to corporations is like selling your children into slavery – you may make a quick short-term gain, but you will never see them again. Anyone who adds 2 and 2 can come up with 5 and you soon realize how things work in the hive. It all goes to the Queen.
It is necessary more than ever to save our public land. What is that saying? – we don’t own the land, we borrow it from our grandchildren. Let’s not cheat them out of their heritage.
Galen Larson writes from Montezuma County, Colo.