Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Opposes Transfer of Public Lands to States
Many western states have investigated the potential of transferring federally managed lands to the states. For its part, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is taking a stand against such policies, according to communications director Mark Holyoak.
"Basically one of the things that it does, it does nothing to solve some forest management issues. It's kind of passes the buck, a bit of a show game, or whatever," Holyoak said. "We really need people to step back and take a look at the management that needs to take place to help out these landscapes and transferring public lands to states is not one way to do it."
Holyoak said there are problems with red tape and the high costs of firefighting, but they need to be addressed within the federal system.
"Well we believe it needs to come from the people that are trying to do it," Holyoak said. "Those are the people on the federal level, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, but their hands are tied time and time again because of layers of red tape that are there. Once they navigate through some of that red tape, there's threats of lawsuits and actual lawsuits that are happening."
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation argues that states cannot afford to manage public lands the way that the federal government can and that timber and mineral harvests on those lands would have to increase to "unsustainable" levels in order for states to be able to afford the transfer.