Personal and financial interests are increasing the pressure on the federal government to turn over to the states public lands that fall within their boundaries. So far these efforts have failed, as they should. As an RVer and boondocker, I have a particular interest in our public lands and have been an advocate of their use by RVers for camping and boondocking for many years. Even my nickname, “boondockbob,” comes from my love of camping on the millions of wide open acres of public lands managed by the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
But if the special interests that are trying to transfer these public lands out of the American citizens’ hands and into the coffers of opportunistic politicians in the states, imagine what could be the ramifications of what would follow. First, the states would have to start coughing up the money required to manage these lands. The federal wildlife management agencies spent almost $4 billion in 2014 alone to manage just the wildlife refuges.
Do you think the states, with the current political climate, are going to suggest raising taxes to manage these lands? Of course not. So what will they do? The only possible option is to start leasing or selling the public lands (which are our lands) to the highest bidder, whether it be amusement part developers, hotel chains, mining and exploration companies, or any other organization whose main interest is extracting what they can take from the land and rewarding their shareholders, and not what they can do to preserve the land for all Americans and for current low-revenue producing uses such as camping, hiking, boondocking, paddling, hunting, and other outdoor recreation opportunities.
That is not what I want to happen to our public lands that we pay taxes on to keep them out of private hands. I don’t want to see locked gates going up across forest service roads and “No Trespassing” signs appearing on all the dirt roads I like to explore and camp on. And isn’t the enjoyment of our beaautiful and scenic public lands the very reason why many of us have chosen the RV lifestyle?
That’s not all. The states will be forced to sell off the most attractive of our public lands, those where private parties can extract the most revenue, leaving the taxpayers to foot the bill for what is left. And will you be comfortable with where all that money will go when these lands are sold or leased?
There couldn’t be any possible benefit to RVers in turning public lands over to the states, unless you are a major shareholder of the corporations that will come in like the robber barons of the old railroad expansion days and reap the spoils of the taxpayers’ land. But can we do anything about it? We can, but it will take our diligence to scrutinize the politicians and special interests that will attempt to manipulate us for personal or corporate benefit at our expense. Watch for the legislation they put out and vote against it – loudly. It is your land and you have the right to demand – yes, demand – that it remain out of state politicians’ hands.
For more RVing articles and tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands, 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck, and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (PDF or Kindle), and my newest, The RV Lifestyle: Reflections of Life on the Road. NOTE: Use the Kindle version to read on iPad and iPhone or any device that has the free Kindle reader app.
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