Published: Monday, Feb. 11 2013 12:00 a.m. MST
Haha. This letter by Mr. Overfelt is a strong example of satire. Well done, Mr.
Overfelt. Very funny.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Local management is always better than Federal management because locals
understand more and have a vested interest in the land.
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.
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.
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
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
procuradorfiscal,"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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