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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Public Lands

By Joe Ashcraft


December 06, 2016
Tuesday AM

It is interesting that the letter from Fielder is in a Ketchikan on line forum, soliciting for state control of federally administered lands in a different state. Maybe it had to do with corporations in Alaska wanting to trade for lands with uncut timber; lands now belonging to others.

There has been a steady acquisition of Montana private lands by people who immediately shut down through access to publicly owned lands and waters - access which had been based on old county roads or trails and allowed by the original Montana landowners forever. Then the new landowners bring pressure to trade the blocked off areas for less desirable tracts elsewhere in the state - effectively shutting down traditional recreation or hunting lands for the public in the immediate area - and then either selling access or hunting rights to pay customers.

Organizations led by such as Fiedler have the privatization of public lands as a goal. Intermediate steps are to bring it into control of state legislatures which are more easily controlled than a Congress where they have in case of Montana 3 representatives out of 535. The extraction taxes for Montana corporations have been dropped dramatically; ag land taxes are those determined perhaps 100 years ago and are ridiculously low. Prices of land are such that passing the land to heirs is difficult so the land passes to the rich or to corporations, and neither has any interest in continuing to provide anything to traditional recreation pursuits by tradition oriented Montanans.

People who want control of what belongs to all of us in order to transfer its wealth to themselves and their friends should be looked at very suspiciously.

Joe Ashcraft
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received November 30, 2016 - Published December 06, 2016

About: "Native Montanan now excluded from thousands of square miles of previously accessible public land."

Related Viewpoints:

letter Keep Public Lands in Public Hands! By Glenn Ferren

letter Unlock Our Lands By Jennifer Fielder


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