Letter: Our forests managed for special interests
February 24, 2015
To the Editor:
I read Drew Munro's article about public land. It is quite interesting that we have much the same thoughts about "Public Lands," and the increasing restrictions placed on use, access, and the "double taxation" in the form of fees.
First, I don't use the National Parks much, so I will keep them out of this letter.
I frequently use the Arapaho National Forest, and the BLM lands mostly in Grand County, and I get to other places occasionally.
I am sick of the disaster that has become the U.S. Forest Service. They do not manage the "Public's" property anymore for the best overall outcome. The Forest Service manages for exceedingly small groups of special interests, and I feel that they really wish that they could lock the general public out.
My brother and I actually overheard a Forest Service employee tell a Winter Park employee, "The goal is to keep the public in areas like the National Recreation Area around Lake Granby, that the USFS wants the public off the rest of the forest."
Now, I would be willing to pay a yearly fee to use the forests, on three conditions. One, that fee would be nation-wide, Two, that fee would guarantee that we do not lose anymore access for my activities. And three, IF the U.S. Forest Service would no longer get tax dollars, or other forms of government funding.
I have been pondering the thought of transferring federal public land back to the states, and I have mixed thoughts.
It would be much easier to hold local politicians accountable for the management of these lands, but I do not believe that states could afford them, at least at first, and the Feds would not give up the money. The main argument that I support in favor of the states managing the lands is that groups from New Jersey, or Ohio, or wherever, would have a much tougher time sticking their noses into Colorado's business. The Colorado State Forest Service has done a much better job of beetle work than the disaster areas of the Forest Service.
Last but not least is the USFS campgrounds, which do have some of the rudest hosts I have ever encountered, especially the lady at St. Louis Creek Campground a couple of years ago. She literally screamed at me about a leash when I took my elderly dog down to the creek one afternoon and used the "path" next to the campground!