Bill Harvey, who will replace Fred Warner Jr. as chairman of the Baker County Board of Commissioners in January, attended last week’s conference of the American Lands Council in Salt Lake City. The topic was transferring public lands to local control.
Attendees also discussed problems that federal management of public lands causes for western states.
1. WE URGE THE TIMELY AND ORDERLY TRANSFEROF FEDERAL PUBLIC LANDS TO WILLING STATES FOR LOCAL CONTROL THAT WILL PROVIDE BETTER PUBLIC ACCESS, BETTER ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, AND BETTER ECONOMIC PRODUCTIVITY;
2. WE SUPPORT EXCLUDING EXISTING NATIONAL PARKS, CONGRESSIONALLY DESIGNATED WILDERNESS AREAS, INDIAN RESERVATIONS, AND MILITARY INSTALLATIONS FROM THE TRANSFER; AND
3. WE SUPPORT EQUIPPING FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL AGENCIES WITH RESOURCES NECESSARY TO PLAN FOR A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION TO STATE-BASED OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT OF THE TRANSFERRED PUBLIC LANDS; AND
4. WE URGE MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES FOR THESE LANDS THAT WILL:
i. IMPROVE PUBLIC ACCESS: Protect public access, rights of way, and multiple-uses on public lands for all people including sportsmen, tourists, recreational users, subsistence and sustenance activities, and emergency access; and
ii. IMPROVE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH: Reduce catastrophic wildfire fuel loads that threaten communities, infrastructure, watersheds, critical wildlife habitat, and our environment. Facilitate restoration of healthy forests, range lands, and waterways; and
iii. IMPROVE ECONOMIC PRODUCTIVITY: Secure jobs and economic growth through responsible natural resource stewardship and use including tourism and recreational opportunities; and
iv. RETAIN PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF PUBLIC LANDS: Federal public lands shall become state public lands to be managed in accordance with state and local plans; and
v. IMPROVE EFFICIENCY OF WILDFIRE CONTROL: Provide state, local, and tribal government with adequate wildfire prevention and control resources and develop interstate/interagency cooperative agreements necessary to combat wildfires effectively; and
vi. INCREASE LOCAL INVOLVEMENT & ACCOUNTABLITY: Ensure state-based public land management activities are consistent with local government plans, policies, and objectives; and
vii. PROTECT USE RIGHTS: Protect all valid existing rights and multiple uses, and enhance the viability of compatible, land-based livelihoods; and
viii. PRESERVE CUSTOMS & CULTURE: Preserve and protect important wild, scenic, cultural and economic resources; and
ix. INCORPORATE FEDERAL AGENCY EXPERTISE: Seek to utilize federal expertise and research through employment and/or cooperative agreements; and