A View From The Overlook: Land Access

Will Valles Caldera National Preserve ever be added to the National Park System? Photo by Tom Ribe.

“The land, like the sun, like the air we breathe, belongs to everyone----and to no one.”

I saw that quote inscribed on an interpretive plaque in Mount Rainier National Park. The quote was incorrectly attributed to the sometime park ranger and full time environmental gadfly, Edward Abbey.

The actual speaker was the Mexican Revolutionary leader, Emiliano Zapata.

Can’t say I blame the NPS for getting them confused. Had Abbey and Zapata lived in the same time and place, they would have been the best of friends; both were familiar with the ideas of the Russian anarchist, Peter Kropotkin. All three of them had rather relaxed views on what constituted private property.

However, the quote, when you think about it, is rather dangerous one; it could also be used by a West Virginia coal company to justify mountain top removal. “That cheap potential electrical energy belongs to us all, so we must all share the burden of polluted air, water, and destroyed landscape; we are all guilty, we are all innocent; it’s nobody’s fault.”

It is, of course, somebody’s fault or at least somebody’s responsibility. Now that Humankind has become an actual geological and geographical force like wind, water, and ice, capable of changing whole landscapes, we do have to take responsibility for the outcome.

Who Owns The Public Lands?

Understandably, in a free society, there is some debate about which best manages the national patrimony, the land: Is it the public sector or the private sector?

To Congressman Steve Pearce, (R-NM), the question is a total no-brainer; private ownership winning hands down.

Congressman Pearce has a knack for telling his constituents what they want to hear; mainly that the federal government has too much power and way too much land. Rep. Pearce would like to change that. Depending on how the election goes, he may have that opportunity.

In the interim, the congressman has played “double dare you,” egging on local county officials in his district to arrest or otherwise harass U.S. Forest Service officers doing their duty, taunting the feds by bulldozing destructive roads on federal property and so on. So far, nobody’s been killed or injured by the congressman’s antics, but as the IRA would say, it’s only a matter of time.

Now does all this yelling and hollering result from a shortage of private land in New Mexico?

Not particularly.

Due to its heritage as an active Spanish colonial possession, much of what is now New Mexico was divided up into land grants divvied up by the king for past or future services.

So, unlike say Montana, Utah, or Wyoming, much of New Mexico was actually owned by folks of European descent when we Yanks took over in the 1840s (Whiney Native Americans who said, “Now just a darned minute!” had long since been shouldered aside).

These Spanish land grants were largely honored by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, resulting in the preservation of huge, baronial ranches, many of which exist to this day.

This is all to the good, as large tracts of semi-desert rangeland are easier to manage than fragmented parcels.

How Does "Bandelier National Park and Preserve" Sound?

One of these was the Baca Grant in Northwestern New Mexico, a 95,000-acre ranch that contains the spectacular Valles Grande Caldera, one of the largest volcanic calderas in North America if not the world. It is rich in forests, grass, and wildlife.

Many said that the Valles Caldera would be a natural addition to the adjoining Bandelier National Monument, creating Bandelier National Park & Preserve (The “Preserve” bit to Allow the continuance of world-class elk hunting; the NPS already has some 13 such “preserves).

The Baca Ranch was owned by the Texas oilman and environmentalist Pat Dunnigan (No, “oilman and environmentalist” is not an oxymoron; such creatures do exist and Dunnigan was one of them.) He had no particular qualms about selling his ranch to the National Park Service, though, understandably, he did not want to take a bath. Negotiations dragged on.

Dunnigan passed away but his heirs and the government finally agreed on a price, $97 million, from the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the year 2000.

A win-win situation? A new "national park?" Not quite, neighbors.

Enter the mischievous Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM). To say that Senator Domenici has some reservations about environmental preservation is to understate the case. Indeed, “The Green Elephants,” Republicans for Environmental Responsibility, (Yes, there are such Republicans) voted Mr. Domenici the most environmentally destructive senator in Congress; quite an achievement, considering the competition.

Senator Domenici was faced with the dire threat of that Leading Purveyor of State Socialism, the National Park Service, establishing a new and enlarged national park in his state. What to do?

Rather than a national park or even a national forest, the senator insisted on a new experiment; a sort of hybrid “Preserve” that would be run for a profit or at least self-sufficiency. It would be managed by a board of directors drawn from both the private and public sectors and if it was not self sufficient by the year 2017, it would become part of Santa Fe National Forest.

Now that sounded like an interesting experiment. There were those who suggested that this model of successful “private enterprise” could be used as a template to privatize most public land.

Doesn’t seem to be happening this way. The increasingly questioning public is being denied access to their $97 million purchase except under restrictive and rather expensive permits. The “Preserve’s” board of directors have come up with some colorful ideas to raise money for the Preserve, including (my favorite) selling the Boy Scouts the exclusive right to collect and sell elk antlers shed on the Preserve. (A similar agreement is in place at the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyoming)

All to no avail. It doesn’t look like the Valles Caldera National Preserve is going to become fiscally solvent anytime soon.

Ranching Is Not For The Meek Or Poor

Why not? Well that’s just the way Capitalism works neighbors. You see, owning a ranch is the most romantic way of going broke in America. Almost all ranches require some sort of subsidy, as gentleman rancher Theodore Roosevelt found out.

America’s largest contiguous ranch, New Mexico’s 590,000-acre Vermejo Park Ranch, is subsidized in bad years by its owner, TV mogul Ted Turner, who must charge you $12,000 to hunt elk on his property. (To be fair, that includes five days of board and room and a guide. Ted’s immediate neighbor, telecommunications taipan, John C. Malone, owns the 200,000-acre Bell Ranch. Mr. Malone, America’s largest landowner, has instructed his ranch manager that the goal is to break even, with the realization that that is not going to happen very often.

You will recall that the previous owner of the Baca Ranch was a Texas oilman. Down in the boot heel of southwestern New Mexico, we have the huge 502-square-mile Diamond A Ranch (Formerly the Gray Ranch) owned by the cowboy poet, Drummond Hadley. As there is a limited market for cowboy poetry, it helps that Mr. Hadley is one of the heirs to the Anheuser-Busch fortune. As long as you continue to drink Budweiser, the Diamond A ranch will flourish.

As far as access to these private lands, well, that can be a bit dicey. Ted Turner needs to charge you $500 a day to go birding or hiking on his property. I called up Jennifer who handles public affairs for the Diamond A and asked if I could hike the Continental Divide Trail on their property. According to Jennifer, they’d love to have my company, but their lawyer advises against accommodating hikers due to liability.

John C. Malone, who owns land in Maine as well as New Mexico, has a solution for this problem. It seems that Maine has a law that completely absolves the property owner of any liability if a hunter, hiker, or other visitor is injured on their land. According to Malone, if New Mexico and other western states were to adopt an innocent right of passage law similar to Maine’s, it would make everyone happy by providing lawyer free access to private land.

So what is to become of Valles Caldera National Preserve? Well, now that Senator Domenici is retired, it looks like the public is going to eventually get public access to the land that they purchased fair and square.

Comments

Valles Caldera might have been part of the park system from around the 1920's if not for a turf battle between the park and forest services. There's a bill in the current Congress to transfer oversight of the preserve to NPS. I'm not holding my breath waiting for it to pass in this do-nothing hyper-partisan session.

Could you please tell me where Congressman Steve Pearce encouraged the harassing of Forest Service workers? I would like to read that.

Leaving out all the politcal dribble, leaving out all the personal stuff, what exactly does this article boil down to? PJ, please explain in 25 words or less, what is your point?

Why is it that when PJ writes it some people always refer to it as political drivel? Yet, when commenters make similair comments it is fact and their 1st ammendment right?

defellows,

The article and his point are summed up in the last sentence, which is only slightly longer than 25 words.

Dear Anonymous at 11:56 on Oct 31:

Google "Congressman Pearce and the Otero County Rebellion", then click on "Sagebrush rebellion flares up in New Mexico". This is from the Biodiversity Institute, probably a liberal outfit, For the "other side" click on "Obama's federal stooge's beginning to understand the power of sheriffs: Sheriff warns federal agents they will be arrested if they interfere."

Congressman Pearce was present and (symbolically) broke the law. He was egging these vigilatntes on and comes across as a rabble rousing thug. If this is not harassing of forest service employees, what, short of shooting them, is?

Cordially

PJ

PJ - I am somewhat confused by your article. What exactly happened after there was an agreement to sell for $97. You say Domenici "insisted" but other than being a member of the Senate, Domenici had no power to insist on anything. Did Congress pass some legislation? Did the sale actually take place? Who currently owns the land? And if it is the public, why is how capitalism works relevant?

http://www.libertyroundtable.com/2012/07/11/new-mexico-law-and-local-sheriff-trump-the-fe

I read the article you suggested, PJ, but I think you don't go far enough. You make it sound like Pearce said "bring it on!". Didn't happen that way. So, yeah, this is why I get tired of the political crap thrown into every article PJ writes. Also doesn't sound to me like Pearce was threatening Forest Service workers. Who exactly were the "Feds" that were brought in? Until that is identified, I am not going to even begin to think it was some Forest Service Smoky Bear guy as the big bad guy here. PJ, this is why people remark on your politcal slant because its all you know. When all was said and done, it sounds like the people involved had an amicable agreement.

From the sidelines, Dottie, the link you posted would certainly seem to indicate the congressman wanted a confrontation by going onto Forest Service land to cut down trees, and that he had the sheriff's support and then some.

Otero County Sheriff Benny House reportedly advised the feds that if they made any arrests, he would then arrest the feds on kidnapping charges.

On September 17th, keeping his Oath of Office to the Constitution and the People, Sheriff Benny House and his SWAT Team protected the tree cutters. The feds backed down! The feds were absent from the Tree Party Rebellion. This is because within the county, the sheriff is the highest law enforcement authority in the land.

And on the other page PJ recommended, it states that Rep. Pearce "cut down the first tree..." and shows him wielding a chain saw and a smile.

The congressman even put out a press release stating "it is time to take back our forests" and that he'd attend the tree cutting on Forest Service land. I don't think it's a stretch that he was angling for a confrontation of some sort and that the sheriff was more than willing to back him up by arresting any Forest Service staff that showed up and tried to stop illegal cutting.


"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself."

Mark Twain

Keep it up, PJ.

In all fairness, Kirk, I think the whole article farcical. And typical of posting stuff in the middle of the article also. PJ starts off with the ranch costing 97 million. Then goes off on Pearce cutting down a tree, and that, PJ, I still say you haven't told the beginning and the amicable end to that story. Then PJ goes on with all the ranchers who OMG are living in this capitalistic country on land they paid for. Then back to the 97 million dollar land. Then ANOTHER senator who is retiring, thank god, because THIS senator, had so much clout that he and he alone devised a committe by private and public people to run this 97 million dollar ranch and its flubbing, and he INSISTED it be done this way. Wow! I didn't know one little old Senator from New Mexico had so much clout. Shows how much I know. So, people, what it boils down to is, a ranch we the people bought, is now going to be open to the public - well, maybe.

So, PJ could have posted just his last sentence, as Old Ranger pointed out.

Many Americans who value our national parks, forests and other public lands, and who understand the need to protect them from people who would destroy or harm them, don't live out here where the battle is being waged.

We need people like PJ and others who are not afraid to try to warn others who care about what is happening. Then it is up to anyone who reads the warnings to decide on which side they will stand.

PJ uses humor and parody to make his warning. I, for one, welcome his warnings and wish there were more like him.

I'm the Constitution guy and while I sympathize with Pearce, the fact is that local laws don't trump the feds when it comes to Fed owned land. So states Article IV. (by the way Rick, I read the Constitution more than 40 years ago, not yesterday - have you read it yet?)

But then, I am still not sure how that fits in with the overall slant of the article.

You're preaching to the choir here, Lee Dalton. I am one hundred per cent in favor of every National PARK that exists. I do not like articles that are posted merely for the purpose of cutting down a particular party, be it Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian or whatnot. And this site seems to be over-indulgent of such. Again, PJ has an agenda.

I second your comments Lee on PJ's most recent post. PJ has an excellent background with the National Parks and is highly respected by many former and current employees. The antics of the congressman and local Sheriff are disconcerting, the employees of this National Forest deserve an apology from both the Congressman and the local Sheriffs Department. It is interesting to contrast this incident with the outstanding cooperative effort being made in New Jersey, New York and other areas hit by "SANDY", where the Federal, State and local governments are working in close cooperation to help those devastated by the storm.

What may seem to be cutting down to one person may be a valuable warning to another. It all depends upon one's point of view.

Having an agenda is no sin. Having a malignant agenda is a sin. PJ tends to skewer those with malignant agendas. Besides, if he didn't piss SOMEbody off he'd probably figure he was doing it wrong.

The Forest Service should arrest Pearce.

Re: defellows comment: "Wow! I didn't know one little old Senator from New Mexico had so much clout"

I don't have any information about Senator Domenici's behind-the-scenes actions on this specific matter, but some members of the Senate use and abuse a lot of clout to ensure their personal agendas are met. One example is the use of a "hold," which is "... a notice by a Senator to his or her party leader of an intention to object to bringing a bill or nomination to the floor for consideration. This effectively prevents the Senate leadership from attempting to bring the matter before the Senate."

One of the greatest abusers of this procedure, in my opinion, is Senator Coburn (R-Oklahoma.) His website states: "A hold may be placed for any reason and can be lifted by a Senator at any time. A Senator may place a hold simply to review a bill, to negotiate changes to the bill, or to kill the bill. A bill can be held for as long as the Senator who objects to the bill wishes to block its consideration ...Holds are considered to be private communications between a Senator and the Leader, and are sometimes referred to as “secret holds.” A Senator may disclose that he or she has placed a hold." [But has no obligation to reveal that he or she is the one person responsible for holding up action on any item in the Senate.]

There's one example of a lot of clout available to any senator who chooses to use it.

Interesting Jim, but there is no evidence a hold was used here. How exactly did "the senator insisted on a new experiment"?

Anonymous, Jim wasn't suggesting that a hold was in play in this matter. He was just pointing out the power that individual senators can wield.

As for the "new experiment," I believe it's clear that the senator embraced and pushed for a quasi-public-private board to manage Valles Caldera, not either the Forest Service or Park Service.

Here's some additional background from a story out of the Traveler's archives:

Adding Valles Caldera to the National Park System would technically be relatively easy, as the land already is owned by the federal government. In 2000 the land occupied by the preserve was purchased by the federal government amid a political battle between those who felt New Mexico had too much public land and many others who saw the exceptional beauty of the Valles Caldera threatened by continued private ownership, ranching and potential real estate development. As a compromise, rather than setting up the preserve under an agency such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Park Service, a "trust" was created to manage the preserve as a "government corporation" (like the Post Office) overseen by a board of term-limited, politically appointed private-sector trustees. Critics say these nine trustees have been reinventing public-land management in largely closed meetings as they struggle under a mandate to become "financially self-sufficient" by 2015. No other piece of wild Western land has this structure, and few people -- including the trustees themselves -- believe it can work.

OK and the Valdes Caldera is where this supposed tree cutting incident occurred? Why would the Forest Service be involved if it wasn't forest service land?


I believe it's clear that the senator embraced and pushed for a quasi-public-private board to manage Valles Caldera


And I must say, that falls far short of "insisted". PJ's political jabs do interfer with his telling the full story.

One thing is for sure: parks (be it county, state or federal) cannot pay for themselves. They need to be subsidized. I remember reading through the financials of the local park agency and user fees are a tiny fraction of their overall budget (1 to 5% if I remember correctly).


OK and the Valdes Caldera is where this supposed tree cutting incident occurred? Why would the Forest Service be involved if it wasn't forest service land?


Take another look at the article, Anon. The anecdote is used to illustrate Pearce's belligerence toward public lands.


The anecdote is used to illustrate Pearce's belligerence toward public lands.


I'd say his belligerence wasn't towards the land but towards the feds that where mismanaging it.


I'd say his belligerence wasn't towards the land but towards the feds that where mismanaging it.


According to the article, his belligerence is toward the very idea of "public" lands.

The only act of "belligerence" I saw claimed in the article was the annecdote about cutting a tree - done because of poor forest management by the FS which had created a fire hazard.

As a New Mexican, I am embarrassed by Steve Pearce. His fed-bashing is getting old. And his anti-federal lands positiion is even staler. And just to be clear, this has nothing to do with mismanagement as anon at 8:36 claims; it has everything to do with his ultra-conservative view of the world.

Luckily, he does not represent my Congressional district.

Rick


The only act of "belligerence" I saw claimed in the article was the annecdote about cutting a tree - done because of poor forest management by the FS which had created a fire hazard.


Then you might take another look. This should get you started:


the congressman has played “double dare you,” egging on local county officials in his district to arrest or otherwise harass U.S. Forest Service officers doing their duty, taunting the feds by bulldozing destructive roads on federal property and so on.

Anon--

Another quote from Steve Pearce, this in an article in The Nation: Republican Representative Steve Pearce of New Mexico told a conservative group in Colorado this month that Romney understands the need to “reverse this trend of public ownership of lands.”

Rick

Rick and Justin - just because you don't agree with his stance on public land management doesn't make it "belligerence". That is one of the problems with you libs. There can't be a legitimate disagreement and discussion without you pulling out the name calling and hyperbolic accusations.

Pearce cut down a (one) tree in an area the forest service had allow fire fuels to reach dangerous levels as a symbolic gesture to get the feds to look at the issue. I don't see any evidence he ever bulldozed any road.


Another quote from Steve Pearce


And I see nothing belligerent in that quote. In fact I agree with him. Does that make me "belligerent"?

I would hazard an educated guess that it's obvious Rep. Pearce is trying to embody and revive the Sagebrush Rebellion of the the 1970s and 1980s. And, if you don't like the word "belligerent," even a casual scan of a dictionary shows "antagonistic" to be a frequent synonym that would fit in the case of the congressman and the Forest Service.

But it would seem that perhaps a bigger picture is being missed (yes, the forest can't be seen for the trees).

Part of the Forest Service's struggles with both managing forests and fighting fires is a lack of funding and cuts in personnel. And with climate change, fire season is starting earlier, and lasting longer, which makes those budget and personnel cuts even more dire. Anyone who's paid passing attention to the past two fire seasons know the fire-fighting air force is badly depleted and technologically strained.

Can the states do a better job? Do they have the budgets and the manpower to manage these large expanses of forest? According to a CBS news story from September, "California budgeted $93 million for wildfires this year but has already gone through $114 million. Montana, Washington and Utah have also burned through their firefighting budgets."

Is the answer turning national forest lands over to the states to log, mine, and develop? Is that in the best interests of the country as a whole?

These issues need to be explored in depth and with cooperation and input from all stakeholders, not with rash judgments or soundbites intended to incite.

Kurt, the problems with fire danger were not caused by lack of funds, they were caused by the FS misguided "smokey the bear" put out every fire attitude. This prevented natural small fires from reducing the larger fire risk.

Do states have the resources - yes - if the feds don't take them away. After all the money is coming from the same people but the people locally are much more aware of the issues. If fire is a risk in Colorado, then Colorado people should address it. If floods are a problem in NJ - then NJ people should address it. It is insanity that we are taking public funds to provide federal flood insurance (because no sane private company would do so) for people to rebuild homes in the exact spot that is sure to flood again.


Is the answer turning national forest lands over to the states to log, mine, and develop?


Are those really the only 3 options? Are there not huge amounts of land dedicated to state, county and city parks or dedicated open space or land trusts? Obviously there needs to be a balance. I haven't seen any evidence the feds address that balance any better and I have seen plenty of evidence they have done it less efficiently and often less effectively (i.e. fire policy).

Unfortunately, Rep. Pearce isn't the only one out there. Here in the west, there are a flock of Pearces who inhabit (I was going to write "infest," but figured that might insult the feelings of some folks) both our state and national legislatures. Most of them are supported by enormous amounts of outside money coming from anonymous sources. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has managed to purchase the services of many of them.

In Utah, we have such luminaries as Rep. Rob Bishop and State Rep. Mike Noel of Kanab who is infamous for his attempts to grab attention by calling a river a road and then leading a bunch of ATV bandits up it in a cloud of water and mud. When they finally gain state control, the idea is to sell it all off to private bidders. The money gained will, they promise, solve every problem of every citizen of Utah including funding our schools (which now rank last in the nation in per-pupil spending) all the way up to the governor's hemorrhoids.

They have obviously adopted ALEC's battle cry: "Socialize the expenses and privatize the profits."

Happily, there are at least a few of us out here they haven't managed to fool. But for some, the illusion of money is enough to outweigh any common sense.

PJ, please keep up the good work. It's very important. Your work may catch the attention of some people who haven't yet heard of what's happening west of the 100th Meridian, and they may help us to take a stand against this nonsense.

These issues need to be explored in depth and with cooperation and input from all stakeholders, not with rash judgments or soundbites intended to incite.

I wonder if Lee read that. Rash judgements and soundbites (as well as dismissive statements and name calling) are his standard weapons.


Rick and Justin - just because you don't agree with his stance on public land management doesn't make it "belligerence". That is one of the problems with you libs. There can't be a legitimate disagreement and discussion without you pulling out the name calling and hyperbolic accusations.


Take another look at the comments I posted. You're dramatically mischaracterizing what I actually wrote. (If you look at what I did write, you might recognize some irony in your comment.)


Do states have the resources - yes - if the feds don't take them away.


Well, since we're talking about New Mexico, it ranks #3 in the amount of money it receives from the federal government relative to the amount of money it sends to Washington. For example, 2007-2009 Federal taxes paid, avg.: $8.80 billion; 2007-2009 Federal funding received, avg.: $24.57 billion. So, without the feds, NM would have a lot less money. Of course, there can be some legitimate disagreement about how we value and/or understand the role of the federal government versus the states in the pooling of resources. But that's a different and more nuanced discussion than the feds just taking away state resources.


But that's a different and more nuanced discussion than the feds just taking away state resources.


You mean the $16 billion they took from other states? You think that is right? Taking $16 billion from other states to give to New Mexico?

I live in CT, and we send a lot more to the fed gov't than we receive. I think it's fine. Mostly because I see myself first as an American and second as a citizen of CT. Whether the money goes to another part of CT or another part of the Unites States isn't an issue for me. And there are certainly other areas of the country--as there are other areas of CT--that at times are simply unable to generate enough local wealth to protect its citizens and resources.


I think it's fine.


Then Justinh - you are a big government socialists- the ideology taking Europe down the drain. I am a small government constitutionalists - the ideology that built America to be the greatest nation ever in the shortest time ever.

Oh- and by the way Justin - raw revenues in payments out is NOT a meaningful measure in the context you are using it. Those numbers include things like retirement and disability. If I work all my career in NY and retire in FL that will show a net flow to FL when it has nothing to do with the state. Similarly, expenditures on procurement are going to be concentrated where the goods can be procured. The real issues are things like grants, insurance, subsidies, loans, gasoline taxes etc. That is where I have a problem with redistribution.

And for some items like military bases and post offices- one could argue (I believe successfully) that politics plays too big a role in which stay open and which close.

Utah is one of several western states that receives more from the Federal government than we send to them. It's something like $3 received for every dollar sent.

It's also a great point of discussion out here because many of our politicians demonstrate hypocrisy frequently as they shout Tea Party slogans out of one side of their mouths while quietly holding out hands to receive as many of those evil Federal dollars as they can grab.

Rep. Rob Bishop, for example, leads the charge to "retake" Federal lands for Utah. At the same time, he has been recognized as one of the top pork farmers in Congress.

Here's a link to a 2010 article from Utah's Deseret News. (The News, by the way, is a proudly Republican newspaper.)

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700024468/Utah-No-13-in-federal-pork-barrel-spending.html?pg=all

Lee - your " hypocrisy" is actually two different issues. One is how much should be spent and the second is how it is allocated. Bishop (and any other Senator) would be irresponsible not to lobbying for funds that have already been allocated to be spent.

Earmarked funds have not already been allocated for spending. A moritorium on earmarks set up by the Obama administration in 2010 or 2011 (I"ve seen different dates) has stemmed some, but not all of the pork. However, there is pressure to lift the moratorium with about equal pressure from both sides of the aisle. That pressure comes directly from voters who can't seem to make up their minds about spending and seem to be seeking to cut spending -- unless cuts might affect them personally in some way.

What I find galling is that many voters simply ignore the whatever you choose to call it when a legislator shouts Tea Party slogans in the morning and then turns around to spend even more tax money on special interests later in the day.

Unless and until we are all willing to accept the hardships that will come with spending cuts and necessary tax increases, we are all guilty of hypocrisy.


Then Justinh - you are a big government socialists- the ideology taking Europe down the drain. I am a small government constitutionalists - the ideology that built America to be the greatest nation ever in the shortest time ever.


Well, Anon, to quote (a fellow) Anon:


That is one of the problems with you [. . .]. There can't be a legitimate disagreement and discussion without you pulling out the name calling and hyperbolic accusations.


Oh- and by the way Justin - raw revenues in payments out is NOT a meaningful measure in the context you are using it . . .


Take another look at the context of my two posts.

The irony of being noticed calling others [with obvious pejorative intent] "you libs... big government socialists...", while denouncing namecalling, would cause a better man to shut up out of shame.

calling others [with obvious pejorative intent] "you libs... big government socialists...", while denouncing namecalling,

Namecalling? Those are identifications I thought you would be proud of. Identify me as a republcian small government constitutionalists and I would not consider that "namecalling". In fact, I put that label on myself and am proud of it.

I arrived at this article after a Google search to learn if it is possible for our public lands to somehow be privatized by non-profit groups who would retain the original intent of preserving the land, but could off-load the expense from the federal government, which happens to have financial troubles lately. Thank you for this article, political slant and all. As someone who cares both for the environment and for our economic health, I really appreciated the history of how ranches are divided in New Mexico and how sustainable financially they really are.