Wednesday, April 18, 2012

":For Protection..."

Currently, there has been a major land grab going on, disguised as being "for Protection...","For Future generations...","To increase usage and economic prospects...", etc., etc.
Colorado is currently going through this hood-winking, along with many other areas nationally.Below is a map from 1997, showing lands already controlled by numerous federal agencies. Remember- this map is 15 years old, and many areas controlled by these entities has greatly increased since then. Add to it lands controlled by utilities, railways, large corporations, airports, etc. and the land becomes more diminished for private use,(homes and small business)the backbone of our nation. Other States are suffering likewise.
Courtesty of :

You can see from the above map that west of the I-25 there is a severe shortage of private land. The checkerboard pattern in the eastern plains is the result of two sections of each township being designated "School Land", and said land was 'given' to the State Board of Land Commissioners. Most of the BLM and the School Land properties are leased for agriculture (cattle grazing). Approximately 450,000 acres of School Land is leased by the Colorado Division of Wildlife for seasonal hunting purposes.( Question: Since land-owners are paying for schools with their tax dollars...perhaps we need to see exactly where is the money from 'School Lands' actually going?)

The Map [circa 1997 ] does NOT show county owned lands, nor any lands Preserved Lands under Conservation of any organization (government or otherwise), nor any lands controlled by the Department of Defense, which further add to the shortage.

Many people in Colorado are unaware of the existence of 'School Lands'. State School Board Lands are lands that were granted by the Federal Government to Colorado at statehood, mainly to provide income to provide for and support public schools. Why are Colorado's property taxpayers providing and supporting these schools when the State has the means to do so? Where, exactly, are the monies from these leased lands going? Clearly, proof needs to be provided to the public showing that the revenue generated from School Lands has consistently been used to provide schools and support the schools. It is well known that the taxpayers have been paying that for many, many years, and perhaps this burden has been erroneously borne by the taxpayer instead having of the revenue generated from the School Lands used for its designated purpose. These lands are managed by the State Board of Land Commissioners through an agency known as the State Land Board. In addition to agricultural and hunting purposes, these Lands are leased for surface uses and mineral extraction, and the lessee has the right to deny access.

The 'public' lands shown on the map are managed by several additional federal and state agencies and local governments. Unknown to many, USFS, for example, for many years has contracted out their duty of management of many areas to 'concessionaire' companies- privately owned companies who are supposed to maintain the areas for the USFS. Often this is not done in an appropriate nor responsible manner, and many visitors also are subject to vandalism and theft while visiting those areas, as well. When a governmental agency finds that these designated areas are not generating enough income, they are SOLD- often to FOREIGN interests. Forest Rangers have been forced into 'retirement' because they disagreed with this policy and attempted to alert the public of the practice.

Fees are commonly now charged to enter our Parks (which was NOT the norm when these Parks were established- Our tax dollars already pay the USDA, of which the USFS is a part....One has to question why are we paying to access and use lands we own? They are, after all, OUR parks). Access is often denied or restricted, and people can go to jail over taking so much as a pinecone home as a momento. National Parks and Monuments and other governmentally managed lands now normally charge a fee for entry, additional fees for camping, permits, etc. In many places, people cannot even get close to what they'd like to see, as it is often fenced off. While camping and some forms of recreation may be encouraged in some specific areas (and those are rare), hunting and some other outdoor activities are strictly forbidden or restricted.

One also has to pay attention to terminology. What was once termed Public Lands, changed to Federally Managed Lands, and is now called Federally owned lands.

Out of the alleged 66+million acres, BLM claims that 2/3rds of Colorado is privately owned. The map clearly indicates otherwise, and that map is 15 years old! Then, of course, one has to account for another huge chunk removed from private use by public utilities and major corporations, and lands that are immersed in water. Only approximately 8 million acres of Colorado was cropland, according to federal sources for the same year as the map, and those have been dramatically reduced since then. Many privately owned farms were bought by developers who then built thousands of homes. A good portion of these homes now stand vacant due to foreclosures, and are subject to vandalism. As the banks went belly-up, the homes and many acres of real estate now is in the hands of the FDIC, who is auctioning them off. The main buyers are foreign interests.

The BLM manages 8.4 million surface acres and the USFS manages 14.3 million acres in Colorado, and the Wilderness acreage is well above 3.5 million acres. These acres are controlled by agencies which impose 'authorized' uses. In addition, there are collectively millions more acreage that is controlled by counties and local governments.
Legal access to federal land is provided by a system of public and agency roads and trails, with the exception of millions of roadless acres within Wilderness areas. Agency officials may restrict access or control the use of these roads and areas. Restrictions may be imposed without public input, consent, or knowledge.

The other issue that seems to be ignored is the fact that the illegal immigrants are setting up 'hobo camps' within these protected areas, and doing a fine job of leaving all kinds of non-eco friendly debris for others to have to clean up after they've moved on. We, of course, are the ones bearing the clean-up expenses.

Frequently, the special interest groups, lobbyists and politicians claim that by designating more areas as Wilderness, or National Monuments that there will be an positive economic benefit, and that it will offer more areas for tourists to visit. The truth is, that is rarely the case.

Their well constructed pleas are deliberately designed to appeal to our emotions, claiming that we would be 'saving' something for our children and future generations. Lack of access and imposed fees and restrictions actually reduce areas open to the public. It has also been repeatedly documented that areas that hold these designations have actually suffered a reduction in jobs, as well as a marked decrease in revenues. Politicians and special interest groups would have us believe otherwise. With these lands being sold without our knowledge and consent, there is no guarantee that there will be anything left for future generations, either.

Another thing the public is unaware of is that these 'public' lands might fall into the same control as many national monuments that are now controlled by the UN. This is, indeed, a truly dangerous situation. 68% of our national monuments are listed as World Heritage Sites, which is controlled by the UN. Although we applied for this status and it doesn’t give them ownership, it does give them regulatory control.

The Feds they are using, in most cases, the Endangered Species act and other EPA acts to either retain or regain control of these lands. Also they use the Powers or the Endangered Species act to fulfill the required “Public Good” of eminent Domain.

As a side note: It is part of a plan as outlined by the UN. See p11 on The Wildlands Project. This is a plan many years in the making. That the UN would like to control the USA is of no news, They have been trying to get the US to sign on to Treaties that give them all kinds of control over us. Kayoto, Waterways, Intellectual Property (which they partially got with WTO and DMCA), and thousands of others.

Removing MORE land from public access by designating it as National Monument and Wilderness is UN-NECESSARY!
Much of the area of these lands are barely accessible due to terrain.

If tourism was such a grand success, Colorado would easily be able to alleviate the debt we're in without reducing State workers pay, without increasing taxes at every turn, and without major cuts all over. Tourism is not just 'down' due to the economy of the country. Tourism has always been, and will always be a TEMPORARY and fluctuating source of revenue. Ask any artist who tries to rely on tourism. Ask any hotel owner. Ask any trinket shop that caters to tourism.

To keep pushing for tourism is insane, especially in this economy when people are losing their homes, and jobs. Do you really think they can afford vacations?? NO. And if they can afford to vacation, how much extra money are they now willing to toss on casual incidental expenses or trinkets? They are more concerned with putting food on their own table.

Tourism is a LOSING proposition- it only is a TEMPORARY means of income in the best of economies, and it is NEVER long lasting. We do NOT need tourism, and we've wasted more than enough money trying to push for more of it. Look around you! The economy has been collapsing everywhere, with NO sign of it getting better for many more years. And Colorado is running about three years behind the rest of the country.

The first indications of failing economies is cars go up for sale; then businesses are closing and there are numerous storefronts to rent; then, the foreclosures start, and the businesses are going belly-up, even with the partnering of larger businesses in other states. Major job losses result with the downed businesses...people can't pay their bills. Increased uses of charities, food banks, and the like. Yet, the real estate industry keeps trying to tell us that we are recovering? Just because people bought in at high prices does not mean they won't be seriously losing money on their homes now- IF they even still have possession of them. We are just beginning to see what the rest of the country has been going through for the past few years.

Colorado needs to be promoting a Business friendly environment, and encourage businesses that are self-reliant, businesses that offer basics- and STOP relying on tourism! Tourism is NOT 'sustainable', and the only jobs it provides are service-industry LOW paying jobs, most of which are 'seasonal' and/or temporary. Those jobs are the first to go in crushed economies. Colorado does NOT need this type of employment; Colorado needs to push for entrepreneur businesses, businesses that produce products we all need, and push for a very strong agricultural business base for ORGANICALLY grown and healthy foodstuffs.(NO Monsanto/Dow!!). If we want a healthy, productive populace here, we must be conscious of the foods we grow and eat. We want innovative, ethical businesses that provide goods people need -as opposed to goods that are simply ego-gratification worthless trinkets.

If you really want to help Colorado and the people of Colorado, STOP this insanity, and LISTEN to what YOU really need and want!
Get the ethical businesses that have left the US BACK to the US, and provide people jobs that pay WELL if you want a strong economy.

NO MORE taking of lands and cutting them off from the taxpayers- which is what happens with ALL 'public' lands- they are hardly 'public', with all the restrictions and closures. NO. This is NOT a good idea at all. ENOUGH with the land grabs, which is exactly what this is, and it is poising as doing us a favor. NONE of this serves the people.
And, by the way, the video our Senator is displaying is nothing but promotional hoopla- winter in Colorado does NOT have green summer trees- only evergreens in their dormant state. Who is he trying to fool? Also, according to all maps showing the 'public lands', CLEARLY the private land is no where near the 2/3rds you politicians keep tooting it as being. Once one factors in all the land the individual counties hold, on top of myriad State and Federal agencies, the people are lucky to have maybe 1/4 available for private land. Again, WHO are they trying to fool??

We, the people of Colorado, deserve a reality check from our 'representatives'- They clearly are NOT serving the people.
For ONCE, we MUST do what is BEST for the PEOPLE instead of the politicians, special interest groups, and con artists- It is time to DEMAND they do as we want and need instead of the opposite of what we want.

Input from others:
"Over 15 percent of the Colorado mountains are currently managed as Wilderness but account for less than 4 percent of visits to the region.

Most people will never set foot in a federally designated Wilderness area, as there is no access for most users of public lands. Mechanized travel is strictly forbidden in designated Wilderness areas, and until recently motor vehicles could not be used for emergency response in Wilderness.

The closure of public lands to 96 percent of users has drastic economic impacts to communities"

"A recent Utah State study found that counties with significant Wilderness designations average $1,446 less in per household income, $37,500 less in average payroll and generated $92,900 less in tax revenue than similarly located counties. The negative economic impacts of Wilderness restrictions caused the Utah Legislature to adopt a resolution requesting the federal government not to designate additional Wilderness due to the negative economic impacts. Wilderness limitations result in thousands of dollars in lost salary to families and tens of thousands in lost payroll and revenue for local communities to maintain roads and operate schools".

"The Forest Service recently reported to Senator Udall that designated Wilderness directly contributed to the mountain pine beetle epidemic and limited the response of the Forest Service to this threat". Now, there are thousands and thousands of acres ravished by the epidemic- thousands of acres of dead trees!

Udall's proposal directly undermines the years of public involvement and meetings that occurred in the development of the Colorado Roadless Rule.

Research indicates the number of people pursuing these activities has significantly declined since the early 1990s.

There is simply no need for more Wilderness; the risk to Colorado communities is simply too great.
Closing such a large swarth of the state from economic activity will have dramatic negative effects on education funding, employment, local and state tax revenues, energy production and quality of life.
The Udall bill would devastate Colorado's local economy during the current economic recession and render impossible any long-term economic opportunities
"Wilderness legislation has been introduced to each Congress due to the vigorous lobbying of well-funded special-interest groups and out-of-state supporters. Unfortunately, these groups and the bill's lead sponsor, Senator Udall, fail to acknowledge the harmful effects it will have on the residents of Colorado.
The negative economic impacts will be immense, in mining, farming, energy development, ranching and private land ownership & development. Further, it represents a model of wilderness designation that engenders conflict, ignores local input and leads to gridlock. Simply put, this bill is a relic of a bygone era. It amplifies rather than alleviates public land disputes, ignores local input and leads to gridlock. Simply put, this bill is a relic of a bygone era. It amplifies rather than alleviates public land disputes".
re: Hinkley's bill, which was very similar:
"It is important to note that this flawed and antiquated bill is not supported by a single federally elected official from Utah. This fact speaks volumes".
From the cattlemen's viewpoint:
"National Monuments Background
Currently, the Antiquities Act allows the President near-unchecked authority to designate new national monuments on federal lands. While meant to fend off potential destruction and theft of U.S. archeological landmarks, monument designations have been used indiscriminately, resulting in the severe restriction of multiple uses such as grazing. Additionally, they have had multiple adverse effects on adjacent private property.
There are now 71 national monuments in 26 states, spanning roughly 136 million acres. In early 2010, a Department of Interior document was leaked, which included a list of 14 areas in the West for possible designation as National Monuments by President Obama. The proposed areas span about 13 million acres and include proposed purchase of a number of private land holdings (if land owner's disagree or refuse to submit to these plans, use of eminent domain would secure their properties!). The administration has refused to release all documents relating to the monument plans.
through the purchase of adjacent private land." Those that oppose suffer the effects of eminent domain- either way, they lose their land.
"First, any private land that’s so designated removes that land from the tax base – as much of southern Utah has already experienced. Which is one of the reasons many of the locals are opposed.

Second, neither NP or Wilderness designation has become an invitation for greatly increased usage. I know – the environmental organizations don’t want to believe or acknowledge that, but as a backpacker with over 20,000 miles under my boots and having spent time (meaning having hiked ) in well over 100 of the National Parks in the system (including ALL of those in Utah), I’ve seen the effects up close and personal. It’s rarely a pretty sight. The human race loves to love things to death.

And last, if the idea is to “protect” those places, then, at least initially, it will fail simply because “protection” requires money and manpower. Neither of which is likely to magically appear in the present financial climate. Nor in what I see as the probable future political climate (and that’s NOT related to the Democrat/Republican or liberal/conservative divide)".

This Land Grab is going on all over the United States. It is taking control away from the people.

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