There has been a great amount of discussion regarding federal land and National Parks this year, with many politicians attempting to make a name for themselves by taking up the position that federal land should not belong to the federal government, and instead should be seized by the individual states that the land is bounded by. This political posturing may be a difference of opinion between the parties, but the potential future of our National Parks may hang in the balance. By the theory of federal land being transferred to the individual states, the outcome could be current National Parks being sold off to the highest bidders for a variety of activities including development, drilling, exploration, logging, fracking and pipelines. While this may seem like something worth considering as it could raise money for cash-strapped states, the consideration must be made to recognize the fact that our unspoiled National Parks cannot be recovered if any of these activities were to take place. Once they are gone, they are gone forever.
A prime example of this fight is happening in Colorado, where Republican nominee Bob Beauprez recently stated during a debate that he supported the seizure of Colorado’s national parks, forests and public lands by the state government, saying “this is fight we have to wage.” He went on to say that if the land were being leased from the state by the federal government, “we would cancel their lease.” His opponent Gov. Hickenlooper retorted by asking where Beauprez planned of acquiring the additional funding that would be necessary to maintain the additional land in question on a state level, pointing out that the additional burden to the taxpayers would be around $200 million annually. If the costs of battling forest fires is to be addressed, the costs to taxpayers could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Although Beauprez did not officially address this issue, it can be assumed that the only logical way these costs would be covered would be by selling off the land that makes up over 30% of Colorado to private corporations to use in industry. Once again, although the development of new industry within the state may seem attractive, it would come with the costs of forever losing the natural spaces that so many Americans value as national treasures.
In addition to his comments at the debate, a Beauprez document entitled, “Liberty’s Promise: My Plan to Protect Freedom and Constitutional Rights,” lays out the former congressman’s plans to “reestablish state rights and duties,” by a process for taking control over public lands back from the federal government.” Colorado’s public lands make up around 36% of the state and include the Rocky Mountain National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park. Selling off these areas for industrial development would forever rob future generations from ever witnessing the unspoiled landscapes in Colorado, and could set a dangerous precident through which the country could lose it’s most precious touring locations like the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yellowstone and all other National Parks.
Touring National Parks is a passion for us, and providing the ability to explore the unfettered beauty of areas like these throughout the southwest is at the core of our values. Bindlestiff Tours does not support the selling off of National Park land for development of any kind, and calls upon our friends to make their voices known. Let Bob Beauprez and other officials who support land seizure measures know that you do not support their efforts to privatize our National Park lands. Share this article on Facebook and other social media, and share this article far and wide.