Eminent Domain

Column by Hal Walter

Public Lands – November 2005 – Colorado Central Magazine

IT STARTED OUT as a peaceful fall morning. I had the place to myself — a wife- and baby-free zone — and a fresh cup of steaming coffee in hand. I glanced out the window to see a very large porcupine lumber in front of the barn. I’ve seen smaller bear cubs, no lie.

As the porcupine approached a paddock to the side of the barn, one of my burros, Laredo, charged at the spiny beast. The porcupine bolted.

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Deadwood should heat our houses

Letter from Simon Halburian

Public Lands – November 2005 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed,

The tourists aren’t looking past our mountains here in Central Colorado and this may be the case statewide. In the last few years I have seen a noticeable decline in hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, etc. And while I don’t have statistics, I suspect the numbers are not just flat but dropping.

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State gets to say which roadless areas will stay that way

Brief by Central Staff

Public Lands – July 2005 – Colorado Central Magazine

The Bush Administration has started to reverse a Clinton Administration order that prohibited road construction in 58.5 million acres of roadless National Forest, but don’t expect any immediate construction.

The change affects about 4.4 million acres in Colorado. We couldn’t find detailed information about Central Colorado, but a general map showed some affected land in the Arkansas Hills, Wet Mountains, and Sawatch Range.

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Our not-so-public lands

Essay by Jeff Milchen

Public Lands – January 2005 – Colorado Central Magazine

ARE OUR PUBLIC LANDS really public? Well, would you still call your town library “public” if a private corporation managed the books your taxes paid for, then charged you a fee to borrow them? Thanks to a provision sneaked into the recently passed federal spending bill, we may face that question about our public lands.

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The Silence of the Lands

Article by Allen Best

Public Lands – April 2003 – Colorado Central Magazine

FORMER MONTANA CONGRESSMAN Pat Williams was talking about Yellowstone National Park and snowmobiles, but he could have been talking about public lands anywhere.

“Have you ever driven a snowmobile into Yellowstone’s wonders?” In many ways “it is a delight,” he said.

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They might roll in the grave

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Public lands – March 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed,

I’ve enjoyed your many articles on Federal Lands use. John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt might roll over in the grave to think the hikers might have to team up with the ATV crowd in the name of wilderness preservation. Personally I’d vote for exemptions for some of the smaller, locally-owned sawmills and mines, almost as living historical districts, and let them steal a few dollars from the corporate tills, these might be easier to regulate than a Disneyfied Forest Entertainment Industry, though they might not produce the same revenue.

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Baca Ranch sale not quite a done deal

Brief by Central Staff

Public lands – March 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

One major hurdle to the expansion of Great Sand Dunes National Park may have been cleared, although it’s too early to be sure.

That hurdle was the 100,000-acre Baca Ranch south of Crestone. The plan was for the Nature Conservancy to buy it, then sell it to the federal government. Part of the ranch would be added to the national park, while other acreage would become a national wildlife refuge.

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User fees make money in Aspen

Brief by Central Staff

Public Lands – February 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

User fees to visit National Forests are not popular in some areas (see the January 2002 edition), but they seem to be working in the Aspen area.

The fees are charged to almost all visitors to the Maroon Valley, the place that offers that spectacular view of the Maroon Bells which just might be the most photographed image in Colorado.

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The Commodification of Nature

Essay by Scott Silver

Public Lands – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

SINCE THE BIRTH of our nation, America’s public lands have been exploited so as to maximize the commodity value that could be extracted from them. Two hundred years later, in 1979 to be exact, a new public lands predator called the “American Recreation Coalition” (ARC) came onto the scene. Unlike earlier profiteers who sought gas, coal, logs or minerals, ARC sought to turn outdoor recreation and tourism on public lands into an extractive industry and to profit handsomely in the process.

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The real reason for public-land user fees?

Essay by Ed Quillen

Public Lands – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

IT USED TO BE SAID THAT, if you worked in the rural West, you took a goodly portion of your pay in scenery. Backwater wages may have been low in comparison to mainstream pay scales, but for many people, there was compensation in the free recreation on the public lands all around them.

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Public Land User Fees aren’t going to go away

Article by Bob Berwyn

Public Lands – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

POPULAR RESISTANCE to recreation user fees on public lands may be spreading, but elected officials and agency bureaucrats seem intent on continuing the program.

Congress voted in October to extend authorization for the fees by two years, and a top Forest Service official testified before a House subcommittee that his agency will soon present plans for a new and improved — and presumably permanent — version of the so-called recreation fee demonstration program.

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Playground or preserve?

Article by Nancy Watzman

Public Lands – September 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

THERE IS NOBODY LESS POPULAR among Coloradans than a Texan. So if your brother and you happen to be Texans who get your Dodge Ram and Jeep Wrangler stuck on a steep mountain slope 12,500 feet high in Colorado’s rugged San Juan Mountains, you are not going to get much sympathy.

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Why Uncle Sam will keep the public lands

Article by Ed Quillen

Public Lands – February 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

WITH EVERY CHANGE in presidential administrations, the big question in this part of the world, in the interior but far from the interior of the Washington Beltway, is not “Who will be attorney general?” or “Who will run the state department?” Instead, we wonder about the Secretary of the Interior.

That’s because Interior manages federal land, and Uncle Sam is by far the largest landlord in Colorado, especially Central Colorado.

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