Two of the remaining candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination think the Federal Government should sell our public lands or transfer them to the states.
Most outspoken on the issue has been Rick Santorum, who recently told a crowd in Idaho, “We need to get it [federal lands] back into the hands of the states and even to the private sector. And we can make money doing it.”
Santorum added that National Parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon should remain under federal management, but did not explain why.
Like Santorum, candidate Congressman Ron Paul thinks the federal government should get out of the land management business. Paul would like to eliminate the Department of Interior, which manages more than 500 million acres of land, including our National Parks and Monuments.
Though radical, this position on who should manage our public lands is not new. Politicians have tried unsuccessfully over the years to transfer federal lands to the states or sell them to the highest bidder. For those of us who consider our National Parks, Forest Service, BLM, and Wildlife Refuge lands to be our birthright as Americans, this notion is abhorrent. Let's hope it continues to go nowhere.
Check out this interesting article from the Idaho Statesman for more information on politicians — past and present — who have sought to sell or transfer federal lands.