Public Lands Policy

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Fees To Enter Popular National Parks Would Skyrocket Under Interior Department Plan

I don't think there should be any fees for parks. After all, we don't charge fees to use the public libraries. Certainly doubling fees at national parks is the wrong way to go. Why not tap the billions the Department of Interior is bringing in on off-shore leases and Bureau of Land Management Lands from fossil fuels and timber to pay for the needed upgrades of parks? The reason we allow logging, coal mining, oil and gas extraction on public lands after all is to provide a public benefit, namely revenue for the lands upkeep.

State park fee repealed by governor

"CHARLESTON — Less than two days after the Division of Natural Resources announced a pilot program that would introduce a fee to seven state parks in West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice stepped in to cancel the program."

“The move was announced without my approval. It’s a bad idea and I’m going to fix it,” Justice said in a news release issued today.

Justice announced that he is putting the brakes on the recent decision by the Division of Natural Resources to charge park visitors a $2 fee. Justice referred to the DNR’s announcement of the program as an “error” and canceled it."

“West Virginians are struggling and at this time there is no way I can go along with charging a fee to enjoy our state parks,” he said. “West Virginia’s state parks will remain free and open to the public. When I see a mistake, I make it right.”

State park fee repealed by governor

"CHARLESTON — Less than two days after the Division of Natural Resources announced a pilot program that would introduce a fee to seven state parks in West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice stepped in to cancel the program."

“The move was announced without my approval. It’s a bad idea and I’m going to fix it,” Justice said in a news release issued today.

Justice announced that he is putting the brakes on the recent decision by the Division of Natural Resources to charge park visitors a $2 fee. Justice referred to the DNR’s announcement of the program as an “error” and canceled it."

“West Virginians are struggling and at this time there is no way I can go along with charging a fee to enjoy our state parks,” he said. “West Virginia’s state parks will remain free and open to the public. When I see a mistake, I make it right.”

It’s bad and it’s everywhere: Harmful algal blooms plague Owasco, Skaneateles, Cayuga lakes

"Prestigiacomo said the hub is looking at temperature, light availability, nutrients, salinity, pH and other kinds of data to try and determine what might be triggering the blooms. He referred to storms in July, which created "episodic pulses of nutrients followed by long, warm, kind of stagnant conditions like we're seeing now," a good formula for creating blooms. The forecast for at least the next week looks much the same."

Never Privatize Those Lands: An Open Letter To Steve H. Hanke

"The concept of privatizing public lands is a losing proposition for many reasons not the least of which is culture and heritage. There are those of us who still believe in the freedom of the American West and its wild places. It has value economists could not possibly equate to dollars and cents. I do not fault you for what appears to be a disconnect with how some of us might feel about something like public lands and all that goes with it. I do take issue with you and others who see no more value in it than some economic multiple “if only it were in the hands of the private sector.” Again I am a big believer in the private sector in the proper time and place, this isn’t it."

"Sadly, your view is missing a value beyond comprehension when it comes to what public lands represent and what they actually support in terms of rural values and the most successful wildlife system in the world. We could discuss management of public lands or the lack thereof in places but that is for another day. Public lands must remain public if we are going to have any chance of keeping our American wildlife system alive. It is that simple."

"Once the vastness of our American public lands is gone, it’s gone forever. And one thing I suspect about economists is at some point in the future they will be on to something else to generate a new multiple and the once public lands will be yesterday’s inventory. I invite you to come experience what our public lands offer, maybe you will see it differently. Come on out to the West and see from the ground what our public lands offer."

Glamping at Boreas Ponds: Not Your Grandfather’s Cabin Tents

"A key adjective in the current hut proposal is the word “temporary.” By this, we are to assume that whatever glamping structures are erected at Boreas Ponds will be removed every year on the shoulder seasons, thereby sidestepping the constitutional barrier that defeated Porter-Brereton. The 1932 proposal would have opened the door for permanent buildings, but a yurt or canvas tent can be put up or taken down as needed. “Temporary.”

"The state employees who are receptive to this idea will tell you as much, citing the fall hunting camp tradition as precedent. Every year, people routinely secure DEC permits to put up seasonal camping structures on state land, ranging from canvas cabin tents to parked trailers — enclosed structures that may remain in place for weeks or even months. If these temporary structures are permitted, then what can possibly be the objection to other temporary structures for summer use?"

"For starters, there is a difference between a warm tent put up every November for someone’s personal use, versus a tent put up on public land for commercial purposes. Because to be clear, the “luxury camping” envisioned by state officials and ACTLS is not the first-come walk-up convenience of a lean-to, but a curated camping service for which people will pay to stay. This already seems to run afoul of DEC’s regulations, which explicitly state that “use of State lands or any structures or improvements thereon for private revenue or commercial purposes is prohibited,” with certain exceptions."

"But the “temporary” nature of these proposed structures is also highly doubtful. Brendan Wiltse, my colleague at Adirondack Wilderness Advocates, was also the Johns Brook Property Coordinator at ADK for several years. During that time he became very familiar with the requirements of managing a backcountry, off-the-grid enterprise. In his experience, health regulations would likely make it impossible to provide “temporary” conveniences, because of the significant investment in infrastructure and maintenance."

Rural parks and wildlife areas, 1945-2007 in NY State

ERS has been a source of major land use estimates in the United States for over 50 years, and the related U.S. cropland used for crops series (Summary table 3 below) dates back to 1910 and is updated annually. The Major Land Uses (MLU) series is the longest running, most comprehensive accounting of all major uses of public and private land in the United States. The series was started in 1945, and has since been published about every 5 years, coinciding with the Census of Agriculture. Data Source: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/major-land-uses.aspx