Public Lands

September 2007By Alison Berry
Holly Fretwell
By Holly Lippke Fretwell and Kimberly Frost Introduction
Although the forests of British Columbia, Canada, are 96 percent government-owned, the management of the forests is far more market-driven than in the U.S. Forest Service, according to a new report by PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center.
Holly Fretwell
Seattle Post-IntelligencerApril 11, 2006 By Holly L. Fretwell Guest Columnist
The forests of North America represent enormous natural bounty. Yet, in the United States at least, the benefits of this wealth of nature are not being fully realized. Taxpayers lose money on their public forests, and the forests face severe ecological threats.
Holly Fretwell
Scottsdale TribuneJune 27, 2005 Paying modest fees would enable
Holly Fretwell
Billings GazetteSeptember 11, 2004 By Holly L. Fretwell
Thomas Bray
Detroit NewsJuly 18, 2004 By Thomas Bray
J. Bishop Grewell
Tacoma News TribuneJuly 4, 2004 By J. Bishop Grewell
J. Bishop Grewell
Beginning in 1996, the federal government started raising (and in some cases newly instituting) recreation fees on public lands and using them at the sites where they were collected. This Fee Demonstration Program, which is scheduled to end in 2004, has sparked a debate over ethical and practical issues.
Holly Fretwell
From the Pacific Research Institute and the American Enterprise Institute Full Text PDF
Linda Platts
A new series of books for young people offers objective and balanced discussions of controversial issues.
Holly Fretwell
Rocky Mountain NewsFall 2003By Holly Lippke Fretwell
Holly Fretwell
State parks across the nation are serving more and more visitors while struggling to preserve natural and cultural resources. As demands for tax-generated revenues grow, many state legislatures are cutting appropriations to their park systems. Shrinking funds and growing usage threaten the well-being of all our state parks.
Bruce Yandle
RS-02-2:  2002
Holly Fretwell
July 12, 2002 By Holly Lippke Fretwell
Holly Fretwell, Linda Platts
June 26, 2002 By Linda Platts and Holly Lippke Fretwell
Roger Sedjo
"The nation finds itself struggling with forest management systems that do not work," says Roger Sedjo, a Senior Fellow with the Washington, D.C.-based research organization Resources for the Future. "The future management of the national forests is unlikely to be smooth, because no political consensus exists."
Holly Fretwell
Americans are on the fast track to land preservation as more and more federal land is set aside at an increasingly rapid pace. Now is the time to pause and ask if locking up great expanses of land provides the good stewardship that we want for our public lands.
Terry Anderson
Terry L. Anderson and Alexander James Editors
J. Bishop Grewell
By J. Bishop Grewell To the Reader
It's time to let federal agencies buy and sell land, says Tim Fitzgerald in a new PERC Policy Series paper. "Federal Land Exchanges: Let's End the Barter" offers a practical way to reform the costly and time-wasting federal land exchange process.
Holly Fretwell
"If we are to protect America’s most valued lands, federal land management policies must be reformed and private conservation efforts encouraged," says PERC researcher Holly Lippke Fretwell.
J. Bishop Grewell
By J. Bishop Grewell Tiny microbes living in the mud-pots and geysers of Yellowstone National Park have sparked a mammoth controversy.
Holly Fretwell
Fees for Recreation? Yes! Says PERC Researcher. The federal government's program to raise entrance and user fees in national parks and forests is an important step in the right direction, says PERC researcher Holly Lippke Fretwell.
Terry Anderson
November 1999Executive SummaryRead Full Article - PDFby Terry L. Anderson, Vernon L. Smith, and Emily Simmons
Holly Fretwell
A Summary Private land trusts are proliferating around the nation as ways of preserving environmental values. So why not a federal land trust to manage the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah?
Richard Stroup
vBozeman Daily ChronicleAugust 4, 1999 By Richard Stroup
Holly Fretwell
"The concern for forests today is not simply that trees will die from bugs or diseases--it is that entire forest systems are so far out of normal ecological range that virtually every element in the system is affected, and may be at risk."
Terry Anderson
Rocky Mountain NewsJune 7, 1998 By Terry L. Anderson
Holly Fretwell
Our nation's federal land management agencies fail to meet any reasonable standard of fiscal responsibility, making the public foot the bill with hundreds of millions of tax dollars.
Donald Leal
Sacramento BeeAugust 5, 1997 Forest Service Roads Opened form Recreation Would Defray Costs By Donald R. Leal
Donald Leal
July 10, 1997Statement for the Subcommittee on Parks and Public LandsBy Donald R. Leal PERC Senior Associate
Donald Leal, Holly Fretwell
Our national parks are in trouble. Their roads, historic buildings, visitor facilities, and water and sewer systems are falling apart.
Linda Platts, Holly Fretwell
Wall Street JournalJanuary 28, 1997 By Holly Lippke Fretwell and Linda Platts
Donald Leal, Holly Fretwell
Parks in Transition:A Look at State ParksRS-97-1  1997By Donald R. Leal and Holly Lippke Fretwell
Once considered America's "crown jewels," our national parks have become tarnished by monetary problems. Campgrounds are closed, buildings are in disrepair, roads are potholed and natural resources are degraded.
Terry Anderson
Chicago TribuneSeptember 3, 1996 By Terry L. Anderson and Mark Liffman
Robert Nelson
Public Lands and Private Rights:The Failure of Scientific ManagementBy Robert H. Nelson
Donald Leal
The Forest Service needs strong incentives to adhere to the bottom line. The right motivation could help create a profitable timber program.
Terry Anderson
Terry L. Anderson, Editor
Donald Leal
More Books by PERC Authors and Editors:
Salt Lake Tribune March 1, 2008 By Alison Berry
By Marty Trillhaase
Laura Huggins
Obama's Great Outdoor Initiative is not a bottom-up approach, but once again a top-down effort that will create more government programs and reduce local control.
Holly Fretwell, Shawn Regan
Federal Land management has largely led to poor stewardship. Permanenty funding the Land and Water Conservation Act to provide $900 miilion annually for more land purchases is a bad decison. The feds should focus on managing the 25 pecent of the US that they already own.
Terry Anderson
The Federal Government continues to acquire more land, much of it is donated, but the cost of land maintenance at this scale is immense and the feds do not have the funds to do the job.
Holly Fretwell
At the annual meeting of the Society for Enviromental Journalists, PERC researcher Holly Fretwell suggested that the national parks would benefit most from earning their own funds from entrance fees rather than depending on politicians to hand over more tax dollars. Meanwhile, the parks continue to deteriorate.
Terry Anderson
Terry Anderson joins Russ Roberts for an EconTalk podcast about free-market environmentalism, the dynamics of the Yellowstone ecosystem, and how property rights can protect natural resources.
Shawn Regan
Cliven Bundy's battle was born out of a broken system that encourages conflict, not negotiation.
Terry Anderson
Today's Sagebrush rebels want federal lands transferred to states, while environmentalists want more federal control. Both sides should be careful what they ask for.
Annie Ireland, Todd Graham
In first-of-its-kind legislation, the National Park Service and the Oglala Sioux have proposed the 133,000-acre South Unit of Badlands National Park be turned into a Tribal National Park. Can it be done?
Shawn Regan
When environmental groups buy ranchers' permits, there's no need for the feds to start rustling up trouble.
Reed Watson, Peter Hill, Shawn Regan, Laura Huggins
Listen as Aaron Flint of "Voices of Montana" talks with Reed Watson, P.J. Hill, Shawn Regan, and Laura Huggins about free market environmentalism.
Holly Fretwell
Citizens in the West have little say on how most of their land is managed. Some western states are beginning to fight for custody.
Holly Fretwell
In the West, nearly half the land is owned and controlled by the federal government, compared with only 4 percent in the East. Holly Fretwell explains why that difference affects the ability of western states to determine their own destiny.
Jonathan Adler
Bryan Preston reports that the federal government is ordering private contractors to close campgrounds and the like on federal lands even where
Warren Meyer
Park agencies are partnering with private companies to keep parks open, well maintained, and generate a return for taxpayers.
Shawn Regan
PERC research fellow Shawn Regan provides testimony for the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on "Funding the National Park System for the Next Century."
Terry Anderson, D. Bruce Johnsen
Facing the "fiscal cliff," perhaps the president and Congress should start thinking in terms of the "foreclosure crisis." All lenders, whether a local home-loan bank or the Chinese government, expect to be repaid either from the borrower's income or, if that is insufficient, from the sale of assets. Where does that leave the U.S. government?
Sarah Anderson, Terry Anderson
In the wake of the 2012 Colorado fires, PERC President Terry Anderson and former PERC fellow Sarah Anderson take a look at the motivating forces behind Forest Service fuel management decisions.
Holly Fretwell
From the New York Times in September:
Holly Fretwell
Since 1997, more than 40 million acres of forests across the West have been devastated by pine beetle.
Holly Fretwell
The Clinton administration signed off on the Roadless Rule [PDF] in 2001 to preserve 58.5 million acres of national forest land by preventing road construction, reconstruction
Holly Fretwell
Amid the state's budget crisis last spring, California's governor threatened to close more than 70 state parks by the spring of 2012 to save the state money. This threat of park closure is a common occurrence in California and other states.
Holly Fretwell
The National Forests cover 8 percent of the nation, an area about the size of Texas. All public lands make up about one-third of the nation’s timberland. Timberland is differentiated from forestland by its ability to provide commercially valuable timber.
Shawn Regan
Protecting endangered species is hard when you view nature as static. James L. Huffman in the Wall Street Journal:
Shawn Regan
Why are ranchers and mineral companies allowed to bid on federal land leases, but the public cannot? If environmentalists could lease the land they want to conserve, taxpayers might see a higher return and also avoid some bitter disputes.
Shawn Regan
ABC's Radio International interviewed PERC's very own Laura Huggins last week about the planned closure of 70 state parks in California later this year.
Holly Fretwell
The threat of park closures is part of the state budget crunch package.
Shawn Regan
What effect do U.S. federal land programs have on private conservation?
Holly Fretwell
The United States land mass covers nearly 2.3 billion acres. About 27 percent of that is managed by one of the government’s four federal land agencies: the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Park Service.
Shawn Regan
No politics. No advocacy. Just boots-on-the-ground work.
Holly Fretwell
Selling assets to meet liabilities; that is what people do when they have reached the end of their finances and are not credit worthy for a loan or do not want to further extend their financial liabilities. What a novel idea for the U.S.
Holly Fretwell
Last spring President Obama announced America’s Great Outdoors action
Shawn Regan
Just hours before Tim DeChristopher made false bids in a BLM oil and gas lease auction, he to
Holly Fretwell
The U.S. Forest Service once provided nearly 25 percent of the nation’s timber consumption but today it provides less than 2 percent. The mandate has changed to forest preservation, a problem because forests are always changing and don’t preserve well.
Terry Anderson
by Terry Anderson
Laura Huggins
by Laura Huggins
Terry Anderson
In 1962, Congressman Wayne Aspinall wrote to President Kennedy asking him to establish a commission to review public land laws.
By Katharine Herrup
In this policy series, Alison Berry continues her work on the quality of forests that result under different management schemes. She contrasts side-by-side forests in Montana. One is operated by the United States Forest Service under the watchful eye of Congress. The other is run by Indian tribes on reservation lands.
Holly Fretwell
By Holly Lippke Fretwell
Terry Anderson, Reed Watson
Environmental, fiscal and economic irresponsibility in the name of protection.

Features

J. Bishop Grewell
Are entrance charges keeping low-income people from enjoying the outdoors?
Andrew Morriss
A professor at Case Western Law School writes about the perverse results of the Cleveland airport's "mitigation" of the loss of a wetland. To build a new runway, the airport must pay to "create" wetlands by damaging a beautiful and serene park sixteen miles away.
Linda Platts
Senator Tom Daschle takes care of the Black Hills National Forest while much of the West burns.
Juliet Eilperin
The Oglala Sioux aim to reclaim their landscape and culture heritage
Richard Stroup
"Saving the Wilderness” explained how the managers of the Rainey Preserve used market relationships to enhance private land management and how they and similar managers could, if allowed, improve the management of government land, too.
Patty Limerick
Through the vitality and wisdom of his written words, Wallace Stegner remains an influential presence in the American West.
Experimentation offers hope for future forest health
The Forest Service cannot take responsibility for its neighbors
Rocky Barker
Fires of 1988 serve as a wake-up call for better forest management

Web Exclusives

Shawn Regan
That there are moose in Yellowstone today tells us something about nature and our role in it.
Lexi Feinberg
Once an icon of the American west, bison are now hazed through costly government-driven efforts and killed in droves around Yellowstone National Park during the winter.
Shawn Regan
By Shawn Regan
Robert Nelson
Federal fire management goes local
Roger Sedjo
Excess forest fuels could launch a viable wood biofuel industry

Columns

Terry Anderson
By Terry L. Anderson
Andrew Morriss
Development of energy sources is raising eminent domain issues.
Terry Anderson
In 1962, Congressman Wayne Aspinall wrote to President Kennedy asking him to establish a commission to review public land laws.

Perspectives

  A Distorted Picture of Canadian Forests   Alison Berry?s article about Canadian forest management (?Timber Tenures,? March 2005) takes a somewhat truncated view of the situation?giving us all of the good but none of the bad.
Linda Platts
Federal land management agencies are increasingly receptive to innovative partnerships that can help share the burden of managing millions of acres of public land.
Linda Platts
While there has been no lack of news coverage on the sad state of our national parks, there is still not enough money to shore up the buildings and patch the roads.
Leonard Gilroy
In the grand scheme, state parks are an amenity that generally falls lower on the state’s priority list than education, health care, and corrections.