LAND CLAIMS

FACT-CHECK­ING THE DE­BATE ON FED­ERAL LAND TRANS­FER

Outdoor Life - - THE LIFE - BY BEN LONG

IN CONGRESS AND AROUND CAMPFIRES, Amer­i­cans are de­bat­ing the fate of fed­eral pub­lic lands—640 mil­lion acres of na­tional forests, wildlife refuges, and parks. Some politi­cians and spe­cial-in­ter­est groups say that Congress should dump these lands by trans­fer­ring them over to in­di­vid­ual states.

Pro­po­nents of trans­fer say that state gov­ern­ments can do a bet­ter job of man­ag­ing pub­lic lands than the fed­eral govern­ment can, and that states would bet­ter uti­lize nat­u­ral re­sources to bol­ster lo­cal economies. Op­po­nents ar­gue that trans­fer­ring lands to the states is just a step to­ward pri­va­ti­za­tion and would jeop­ar­dize the coun­try’s nat­u­ral trea­sures. Plus, it could lock sports­men and women out of the best pub­lic hunt­ing and fish­ing in the coun­try.

In hopes of de­mys­ti­fy­ing the de­bate, we ex­am­ined claims from both sides about why fed­eral pub­lic land should, or shouldn’t, be trans­ferred to the states. Here’s what’s le­git, and what’s not.

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