Norm Benson: Sage grouse is a pawn to lock up public ground
April 10, 2012
To the Editor:
I just read the article concerning the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) new plan to use the sage grouse as a pawn in the ongoing federal plan to lock up public ground.
Without doubt the sage grouse populations are in trouble, and for the reasons identified – loss of habitat, development, sagebrush die-out, and so on.
However, this just gives the “Lock It Up” crowd more of the flimsy provocations that are used on a regular basis. The sage grouse joins the “Canadian” lynx, spotted owl, Prebble mouse, humpback chub, and a host of other critters, shrubs, bugs, and even bacteria, to use as the “cause du-jour” to deny anyone but properly credentialed researchers or other officially favored, well-connected people to access federal public property.
I am of the opinion that only a total house-cleaning of government agencies is going to ever change the attitude that the “public” is too stupid to be allowed on public land.
The BLM and U.S. Forest Service, among other federal agencies, are as infested with do-gooder self-appointed “enviro-bigots” as the forest is with pine beetles. Unfortunately we can’t spray them.