Field and Stream

THE BIGGEST RIPOFF

- —Ted Trueblood, November 1982

Today’s “Keep It Public” campaign is the latest rallying cry in a decadeslon­g battle. In the early 1980s, a flashpoint ignited when President Reagan appointed industrial­ist James G. Watt as secretary of the interior. F&S fought for public lands then, as we do now, and Ted Trueblood didn’t mince words.

It started as the Sagebrush Rebellion and it has now grown into what will be the biggest ripoff in American history—if it succeeds. And it will succeed unless the victims, the American people, raise such a hue and cry as has never been raised before. It is the proposed “privatizat­ion” of the public lands, both the national forests and the range lands now under the jurisdicti­on of the Bureau of Land Management.

The real plot was slow in coming into the open and only this fall did it finally emerge in its true form. It has been concealed by double-speak, lies, subterfuge, and smooth-talking advocates who seek to rob the American people of their great land heritage before they are aware.

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Appointing Watt to head interior was like finding a gopher snake to guard a nest of baby mice.

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