Comments about ‘Letter: Protected lands’

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Published: Wednesday, Aug. 20 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Michael Matthews
Omaha, NE


Utah already has so many protected lands, that you've likely reached a law of diminishing returns point. How many national forests, public land, etc does one area need? There may be other "local" reasons to be supportive of the federal gov't taking more land and setting it aside for national parks. But... tourism seems to me to be less of a reason than it used to be.


seattle, WA

Two separate issues brought out here.

First, the complaint that any old Republcan Tea Party candidate is automatically elected in Utah. Well, duh! When the dominant religion makes it the business of said religion to use its coercive clout on its membership. That is what you get.

Secondly, why should the administration pay any attention to Utah anyway? They don't vote for him.

Salt Lake City, UT

A very well reasoned letter. Thanks DN for publishing a well thought out letter!

Hayden, ID

I seriously doubt the Republican party has moved much at all either in Utah or anywhere else. Perhaps its seem so to Randy because the Democratic party has veered so far to the left leaving a huge cultural, economic and ideological chasm. My late father used to say, "I never left the Democratic party, they left me."

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Let's leave the Alinsky epithets out of letters to the editor. Republicans in Utah elected other Republicans to represent them. Utahns have every right to vote for whomever they wish.

Utah is a State. It is not owned by the Federal Government. The Federal Government is prohibited from owning any land greater in area than ten miles square except for forts, magazines, arsenals, docks and land upon which federal buildings stand. (Article 1, Section 8)

The citizens of Utah are entitled to ALL the land in Utah, either jointly, or as land owners, if they have purchased the land from the State.

Utah land is not held in common with citizens of other states, unless they have a deed to that property. We do no own New York's Central Park in common with the citizens of New York. We are a federation of states, not counties of the United State (singular).

Thinkin\' Man
Rexburg, ID

The only ones who think the Republican party is becoming more radical are those who just started paying attention to politics. Those who have been paying attention for decades realize that past Democrat presidents like Kennedy would today be Republicans.

Salt Lake City, UT

How narrow can this thinking be? Is the land going to completely dissappear because of a change in ownership?

Even though, the present proposal does not include a change in stewardship of national park land.

salt lake city, UT

BO will sign legislation protecting significant amount of America's public lands by the end of his term. The overwhelming majority of Americans and Utahns want that and were blessed to have a leader who will serve the people.

Virginia Beach, VA

Hey Thinkin' Man -

“Those who have been paying attention for decades realize that past Democrat presidents like Kennedy would today be Republicans.”

That’s nonsense.

Republicans love one of Kennedy’s quotes, but they take it completely out of context.

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Kennedy was referring to the Peace Corps and VISTA, government programs he advocated, and the need for volunteers.

How many “Conservatives” are going to volunteer for VISTA and work for free, helping inner-city minorities? How many “Conservatives” are going to volunteer for the Peace Corps and go overseas working for free, helping the natives build an irrigation system.

American “Conservatives” don’t do that.

Many American “Conservatives” even resent paying their taxes, because they might provide aid to an American family in need.

There is NO WAY JFK would be a Republican today.

Durham, NC

@GaryO - it is rare that I would disagree with much of what you have to say, but honestly, in this neck of the woods we have a good number of "conservative" churches (non-lds) that have huge outreach programs both locally and globally. I work with numerous people who spend part of their family vacation going an "missions" to foreign lands to work with kids in need. I personally work in a sports program where the director is a die hard republican that extends at his own cost opportunities for kids without means a way to play competitive sports.

So I think it is an over generalization that Republicans don't give. I think what you might find though is those that do give don't go around wearing their party affiliation on their sleeve or so self proclaiming themselves patriots. They are simply people regardless of party responding to needs they see.

The same goes with my friends who hunt. The appreciate the public lands they use, and don't want them spoiled either. Many are conservatives, some not. But they also want to see wild lands preserved.

Salt Lake City, UT

I find it telling that the great majority of comments lambasting this letter to the Editor come from Idaho. Places with expansive worldviews, like Hayden Lake. Truth is, the vast majority of Utahns think that federal lands in Utah are not an issue worth spending a minute on. This is a Tea-Party base issue and is a symbolic gesture, nothing else.

Regarding which party has moved left or right, it's not even an argument.
The only way in which the Democratic party left old white men is when they stopped supporting overt racism in the South.


@ Mike: Article I, Section 8 states that Congress has sole legislative authority over the District of Columbia, "the Seat of the Government of the United States[.]"

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say the Federal Government cannot own any other land. As a matter of fact, Aricle IV, Section 3 states, "The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State[,]" which clearly implies the ability of the Federal Government to own land.

As a side note, if the Federal Government cannot own land, the Louisiana Purchase and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago would be unconstitutional and the land contained in those areas would still belong to France and Mexico respectively. Utah would not be part of the US in that case, mi amigo.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Mike Richards reads the Constitution wrong.

Art. 1:8 does NOT say the US cannot own land except as provided. It only grants Congress "exclusive legislative authority" over certain lands purchased from the states.
Art. 4:3 clearly says the US has the exclusive authority to "dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations" regarding the property belonging to the US, including that to which it has clear right and title.

Any constitutional lawyer will tell you the same thing.

All American
Herriman, UT

@Irony Guy: "Art. 1:8 does NOT say the US cannot own land except as provided. It only grants Congress "exclusive legislative authority" over certain lands purchased from the states."

Are you saying that the Fed Govt "purchased" the land in the states that are now national parks and monuments? I don't think any money was exchanged. I think you should have worded your comment differently.

All American
Herriman, UT

Randy Hopkins: "Most residents of Utah are much more centrist leaning than adhering to the dogma of the fringe right." Really? And how do you know how "most" Utahns think or believe?

Hayden, ID

@ Spangs. My comment was about the author's assertion that the GOP has drifted right and not one word did I say about the amount of public lands in Utah. If your dislike my "expansive views" I suggest you just don't read them. As far as public lands, Idaho has more government designated wilderness lands than any state outside Alaska.

Durham, NC

@VST - The fact of the matter is that by voter registration the percentage of voters in Utah that are Republican is sliding - but still the majority. The fastest growing group? Independents. They don't want to be Republican, but hey don't want to be Democrats either. They now constitute 1 in 4 Utah voters.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

There are those who tell us that "big brother" owns land inside Utah. They reject the fundamental concept of our Constitution - we the people, not, we the servants of big government.

Utah is one State of fifty in our federation of States. The Constitution allows this federation to act as one in certain things. Sharing land within a State is not one of those "things".

Unless you reject the foundation upon which the Constitution is based, you cannot claim that Washington "owns" Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, New Mexico or any other State where the Federal Government claims ownership. States are sovereign. They are not appendages to the United State (singular). Clinton claimed differently. Obama claims differently. Those who reject the concept of a federation of states claim differently. Just because they claim differently doesn't make it so any more than claiming that Obama governs us makes it so. Twisting principles to match liberal ideas may be a fun parlor game, but it has nothing to do with the United States of America.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT


The reason we keep electing Republicans is... they're not as "fringe right" as you pretend they are. And most people know that.

There are some "fringe right" people in Utah Government. But your assertion that ALL Republicans are "fringe right" doesn't fly with most people who don't see everything as radically as you do, or as black-or-white as you do.

Some people think you could turn control of SOME of the land (not... not ALL federal land) to the State.. and it could still be protected, and it would NOT immediately turn into a moonscape. Yes... some actually believe that.


Nobody's suggesting they turn Zion National Park over to the State. Nobody's insisting that ALL Federal land in Utah be turned over to the State (including all National Parks)... That's just your radical all-or-nothing mind-set at work.

They are actually talking about less radical changes than you pretend in your letter. Nobody wants to take over Zion NP, OR turn it into a moonscape.

Now.. if we could talk about what is actually being proposed (instead of your strawman).. we may be able to get somewhere.

RC in WJ

Letter writer Randy Hopkins asks "When will we have a governor that will be proud of our protected lands? Sorry Randy, our good Governor could care less about our protected lands just as he cares less about the thousands who are going without health care because of his inaction! Our governor talks out both sides of his mouth in an effort to pander to the far right and protect his political interests!

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