Comments about ‘Letter: Utahns appreciate outdoors, won't mismanage public lands’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 11 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Salt Lake City, UT

Haha. This letter by Mr. Overfelt is a strong example of satire. Well done, Mr. Overfelt. Very funny.

one old man
Ogden, UT

It's not necessary to look very far at all to find literally THOUSANDS of examples of current mismanagement of Utah's lands -- both public and private.

For example: Overgrazing. Private lands are frequently overgrazed -- whereas public lands tend to be in better shape thanks to efforts of the BLM.

Water pollution: Look at the fouled waterholes and riparian habitats for rampant examples of fouling by cattle manure.

Grave robbing: The upstanding citizens of southern Utah who see nothing wrong with pillaging ancient ruins and grave sites in search of valuable prehistoric artifacts.

ATV riding: Look at all the eroded and scarred scenery where irresponsible riders insist on taking their machines where none have passed before.

Shoot 'em up Bang Bang: Notice all the road signs, campground facilities and other things used as targets by Utah's "responsible" gun toters.

Ripping resources from the earth: Open scars, fouled water, and consumption of huge quantities of water to extract oil, coal, and other resources. We need the resources, but must we be so destructive?

Easily bribed officials: Governor Herbert and Mike Noel immediately come to mind.

Stream access: Locked up private lands.

Smog: Just try breathing.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

It is unfortunate that the people who own and operate the state of Utah can only see the world through business eyes.

The real purpose of government is to serve the people themselves and not the financially oriented people of greed. The public lands in Utah don’t belong to Utah or even the people of Utah, the lands belong to the people of America and that includes those both east and west.

If you spend any time on public lands, you can see the difference between state management and federal government management. The only time the facilities on the land are better in the state or private management is when the facility caters only to the rich.

Ogden, UT

Run by environmentally responsible officials? That's so intentionally erroneous as to be nearly Orwellian. The only reason we don't have a large Dutch-owned coal mine in the Grand Staircase feeding Southern California cities is because the feds stepped in to create a monument. Frank, once you describe to us how the state can possibly pay for the proper management of current federal lands without cutting it up and selling it off, I'll take your viewpoint seriously. Until then you are giving us empty rhetoric.

"we...don't need transplanted Easterners nor Eastern-based congressmen dictating how our lands are managed"

The concept apparently isn't sinking in. They're not "our" lands, they are public lands belonging to all Americans.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Ultra Bob,

A minor quibble. I think if seen properly through the business lens, good management IS good business but over the long term rather than short run.

Just my thoughts.

LDS Tree-Hugger
Farmington, UT

Utah won't mismange pulic lands?

Pull your head out of the sand and look around.

Urban sprawl is out of control,
Rio Tinto (Kennecott),
Oil refineries,
Coal and uranium mining,

Anything for a buck $.
Anything for a developer.
Anything for business.
Anything for mammon.

Thinkin\' Man
Rexburg, ID

Local management is always better than Federal management because locals understand more and have a vested interest in the land.

Ogden, UT

Thinkin' Man,
That's a nice sentiment and I wish it were always true. Locals know better what they want out of the land. That doesn't necessarily line up well with what the rest of the nation wants, and there has been plenty of abuse by locals who apparently don't know or don't care that they have a vested interest in the land. Federal agencies need to work closely with locals to find equitable management solutions for public lands, but turning it all over to local control is a terrible idea.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Twin Lights.

Your thoughts seem to express my sentiments exactly, but good business does not necessarily mean good life for people. Your thoughts seem to ignore the people and see only business.

The really important things in this world are people.

Salt Lake City, UT

Mr Overfelt says "We are fiercely independent and don't need transplanted Easterners nor Eastern-based congressmen dictating how our lands are managed". Since he his talking about federal lands, that land belongs to every American, including Easterners and Eastern-based congressmen. I certainly hope Mr Overfelt wasn't trying to imply that federal land actually belongs to Utah and the federal government just refuses to let Utah take control.

As to his claim that Utah would not mismanage those lands... I don't believe that for a moment. Utah's government has shown time and time again that they are more than willing to do what is best for business and private (wealthy) interests at the expense of everyone else. Give Utah a good 20-30 years to prove themselves as good land stewards and then I'd be willing to give them my support for controlling federal public lands.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Utah already manages 33,000 sq miles of state land, 3x the size of Massachusetts. They do a lousy job of it. Those lands are scarred up, squatted on, overgrazed, and the state parks are falling apart. A poor steward shouldn't be awarded more land to mismanage.

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

"Utahns are not about to mismanage public lands."

Right now, there is a bill being proposed, H.B. 68, that would take away much of the public easement that exists on Utah's rivers and streams and give that easement over to private interests by nullifying the "public trust" doctrine on many rivers. In 2008, a unanimous Supreme Court ruling clarified that there is a public easement on all Utah rivers and streams. This was overridden by the passage of H.B. 141 and signed into law by the governor. Now, H.B. 68 seeks to take away the public trust on many more rivers.

The legislature has already taken from the public without compensating the public with the passage of H.B. 141. Now, H.B. 68, if passed, would further that.

You need to think twice with your assumption that Utahns won't mismanage public lands. It is clear to me that the governor and legislature will NOT have the public's interests in mind with regard to public lands. They have already betrayed the public with these two bills, one of which is law now (H.B. 141) - the other is proposed.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Where was Mr. Overfelt this summer? How many fires did we have? How many mud slides did we have? How many federal dollars are going to treat the land because of our inability to take care and manage it?

Once again, Mr. Overfelt provides us with a fact free and rhetoric filled letter.

Salt Lake City, UT

The average Utahn repects our scenic lands, but that does not mean that state politicians do. We have seen that due to caucuses being dominated by rightwing elements, the candidates do not represent mainstream Republicans in this state. A majority of Utahns want greater increases in education funding even if it means higher property taxes, and look what has actually happened there. Politicians here are owing to corporate lobbists and can ignore our wishes as they know that most Utahns will vote Republican, no matter what they do.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Ultra Bob,

I agree that people are (or should be) the focus. But good, long term management strategies are think usually will dovetail nicely with what is good for the people. Where that falls down is often (not always but often) when we take a short term view.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

I've been to every corner of this beautiful state and one thing is common: Utahns trash it. From boy scouts leaving garbage and destroying live trees in the Uintahs to ATVs damaging trails everywhere. Utahns simply would not protect the land, they would destroy it.
For starters, Herbert would sell the best places to developers to be locked up forever.

Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . public lands tend to be in better shape thanks to efforts of the BLM."

Spoken like a true uninformed anti-agriculture elitist.

Question -- who do you think kept those public lands in the pristine condition in which absentee Washington bureaucrats and back-East/Left Coast liberals "discovered" them, when they first began to show an interest in Western lands in the '50s?

Hint -- it wasn't the bureaucrats and liberal elites.

It was people who depend on and cherish the land that has given them -- and you -- sustenance for more than 150 years.

Show a little respect for the real people that invented tree-hugging, but who didn't carry it to the leftist extremes of today.

Provo, UT

The history of the management of public lands in the West is a mixed bag with good and poor management found in all who have and do use them including the environmentalists. What usually never surfaces is how the Federal Government has denied access or been unwilling to trade our School Trust lands that should be generating educational funds. There is little cooperation between all of the agencies in their management outdated regulations which adds to the mess. What is needed is a coordinated master plan for all public lands that is reviewed every two years for effectiveness and sustainablity. But it will take real leadership to make it happen and I haven't seen much of that lately on either the Federal or State level.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Procura has done it again : "Re: ". . . public lands tend to be in better shape thanks to efforts of the BLM."

Spoken like a true uninformed anti-agriculture elitist."

He might be surprised to learn that I have a very extensive agricultural background. And the thought of someone like procura hugging a tree is completely laughable. It was people like Teddy Roosevelt who saved America from the procuras. Had it not been for him and others like TR, our land would be mostly barren today with polluted water and air even more foul than it is today.

If "elitism" is required to preserve our natural resources and use them wisely, then we need a lot more "elitists."

Ogden, UT

"who do you think kept those public lands in the pristine condition"

They weren't in pristine condition. Federal agencies essentially had to wrest control of western grazing lands after ranchers completely ruined them in the late 1800s. I could take you to places where washes have eroded downward 30 feet due to poor grazing practices, and they aren't hard to find. Places where cattle have denuded the landscape. Places where streams are entirely dewatered for agriculture. Places that are lush & vegetated where cattle have been fenced out, while the overgrazed land just over the fence looks like the surface of the moon.

Poor rangeland management and grazing practices are a hallmark of the West. You're revising history and creating a fantasy world in which the fabric of desert ecosystems are being held together by local ranching. The truth is it's a miracle the ecosystems still function at all after 150 years of use by those who "depend on and cherish the land".

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