Photo by: Steve Horne

The Charade of Public Access to Public Land

R.O. Voight

June 21, 1999

One of the keystones of justifying the creation of public land has always been the assurance that the "public" would be able to use the land, to have access for recreation, for hunting. After all, the name says it all, "public land”. It is certainly for the public, right? Wrong!

The current Clinton Administration declaration to deny access to the public to five million acres of public land seems to be surprising many people. It is raising all sorts of hackles as if this is a new and startling concept.

The Clinton Plan, being implemented by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, calls for: 2.6 million acres in Utah as a wilderness area; 1.5 million acres in Alaska as a wilderness area; 505,350 acres in Arizona as a wilderness area; and several miles along the Upper Missouri River in Montana as a national park, or wildlife refuge. All human use of the land will be banned, including recreation, except for some limited walking or meditation (spiritual involvement).

This is not a new concept and has always been the real purpose hidden behind the "public land" charade by the enviros and the Clinton Administration. The entire plan is detailed in the Wildlands Project, first publicized in 1992, in an article written by Dr. Reed Noss, and published by the Cenozoic Society Inc. That plan states that fifty percent of every state should be set aside as a wilderness area with no human activity whatsoever. No homes, no recreation, no industry were to be permitted. The wilderness areas were to be connected by twenty mile "corridors" for wildlife to move between the wilderness areas. Humans could cross the corridors in designated locations, but that was the limit of what humans could do. The notorious Dave Foreman founder of Earth First!, and presently a Director of the Sierra Club, was one of the original authors of the concept.

In 1994, the protocol for the Global Biodiversity Treaty was released. It is called the Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA), and contains 1140 pages. There is a section therein that deals with land use, and the same concept of wilderness protection and forbidding human intervention is clearly stated. The Treaty was submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification in 1994, but when the details of the protocol were made available to the Senators, including the Wildlands concept, they refused to consider it for ratification. It has not been ratified, or even come up for consideration since then.

However, the Clinton Administration is proceeding to implement the various parts of the protocol, including the wildlands concept. As in other areas of policy, it is normal under the Constitution for Congress to authorize such actions, however President Clinton is using the vehicle of the Executive Order to bypass the Constitution, as well as using his own Administrative authority. He has to date issued more Executive Orders than any other President, and Congress seems restrained or at least hesitant to move to control the President, or even to assert its own authority. Secretary Babbitt said recently, "We've switched the rules of the game. We're not trying to do something legislatively."

Senator Frank Murkowski, Alaska Republican and Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee said, "We have to be wary. They want to appease the extreme environmentalists who have this on their agenda and want this to happen."

There are maps available of every state, and one of the entire United States that shows in detail the wilderness areas and the connecting corridors. This plan, sometimes call "the wilding of America”, is no dream, but is being implemented before our very eyes. Today!

There is an interesting and related piece of current history here in Maine. In 1996 the Maine enviros initiated and strongly supported a bill to restrict all development on 4.2 million acres of the North Woods. They specified the location and areas of restricted forest. Those specific areas coincided directly with the prepared maps of Maine showing the "wilderness" areas in the Wildlands Project. During the committee testimony, the legislators were shown the maps, with an overlay of the "no development" areas being proposed. When the legislators understood the game, they signified "ought not to pass" and the bill died in committee.

So this is an ongoing game, and the denial of public access on public land is the ultimate goal in the end game of the environmental movement. They are out to "preserve" Nature and this is their number one priority! The basic human needs, desires, or uses of our natural resources on this planet, and specifically in the United States, have no place in their ultimate scheme.

Environmental zealots, within and without the government, are using every dodge, every piece of misdirection, much misinformation, to mislead not only the American public, but also more rational environmentalists, from their real objective. And they are using every legal loophole, every administrative dodge to achieve their objective. Secretary Babbitt is using his regulatory powers to halt mining, grazing, logging, and gas exploration on public lands. He will ask the President to use the Antiquities Act to declare some of the public land a national monument.

The Antiquities Act also authorizes the President to set aside land for preservation. In four of the Western States, the administration is proposing a two year moratorium on mineral activity on 429,000 acres in Montana, 165,000 acres in Colorado, and 5,000 acres in Missouri. Of course this proposal is just the toe in the door to further intrusion and exclusion on public lands.

The current thrust to place a billion dollars annually, without Congressional annual approval, as justified and proposed in HR 701 and the companion Senate Bill S-25, is simply a further extension of the same game to expand and control federal land for the purpose of "wilding America”.

These people, totally dedicated to their agenda, will tolerate no opposition, no public review of their actions. They ignore citizen values, citizen needs, community values, community needs, and press on regardless toward their own pantheistic view of the World, and America.

It is happening to you! And to your children!

"Courtesy of Scott Fish, AsMaineGoes.com."