So my understanding is that it’s hard to figure how much market value really is for some of these properties; however, I wonder about the rationale for reducing fees because owners “can’t afford” them. I’m sure National Park access fees are high for some people, .. how about means testing them? If the problem is that different forest units interpret the regulations differently, well, that’s another problem.
It seems like this group might be considered to have “undue political clout” even though they are not a corporation, which would feed into our previous discussion of what is “appropriate” political clout. But to them, it’s just an organized grassroots strategy, which you can check out at their website here.
Given the people on this blog’s different experiences with recreation residences, what do you think the problems are, as well as solutions? (if you are currently working, you can use an alias). Some have suggested that just selling these parcels would be better for the public, due to the costs of administration and the fees never being able to keep up.
I’m also curious as to whether Environmental Groups who Use Litigation as a Frequent Tactic or EGULFTs have ever turned their attention to these folks and the Recreation Residence program. Seems like the continuing presence of these folks in the forest might have environmental impacts as significant as, say 500 acres of thinning…
Here’s the Examiner.com story.
Here’s a link to the bill.
I would like to attend all these but may not be able to.. if anyone else on the blog would like to attend and submit a post, let me know. The below seminar sounds interesting, especially for us bloggers, but conflicts with a vet appointment for my dog.
CSTPR Noontime Seminar: The Contrarian Discourse in the Blogosphere – What are blogs good for anyway?
CSTPR Noontime Seminar
Fall 2012 Series
Thursdays 12:00 – 1:00 PM
The Communications-Policy Nexus
Media, messages, and decision making
* Tuesday September 11, 2012
THE CONTRARIAN DISCOURSE IN THE BLOGOSPHERE: WHAT ARE BLOGS GOOD FOR ANYWAY?
by Franziska Hollender, Institute for Social Studies of Science, University of Vienna
CSTPR Conference Room, 1333 Grandview Avenue
Free and open to the public
The media serve to inform, entertain, educate and provide a basis for discussion among people. While traditional media such as print newspapers are facing a slow decline, they are being outpaced by new media that add new dimensions to public communication with interactivity being the most striking one. In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians? Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them. Blogs, being fairly unrestricted and highly interactive, serve as an important platform for contrarian viewpoints, and they are increasingly permeating multiple media spheres.
Using the highly ranked blog ‘Watts up with that’ as a case study, discourse analysis of seven posts including almost 1600 user comments reveals that blogs are able to unveil components and purposes of the contrarian discourse that traditional media are not. They serve as extended peer communities as put forth by post-normal science, however, blog users themselves do not see post-normal science as a desirable goal. Furthermore, avowals of distrust can be seen as linguistic perfomances of accountability, forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again. Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.
Tuesday, 11 September, 2012
12:00 PM – 01:00 PM
Then there is the Culture Politics and Climate Change International Conference from Sept. 13-15
the program is here. Even if you can’t attend the titles sound interesting and you could, more than likely, find a written paper on a related topic by the same authors that would be of interest.
Finally there is the The Nation Possessed conference I mentioned previously on this blog. Here is the link. It is the 12th to the 14th.
If you want to be stimulated by new ideas about the same old topics, head to Boulder this week!
Hmm.. some other folks are seeking to reach across the divide..Here’s a link to Patty’s op-ed in the Sunday Denver Post. Bolding mine. Good on the Center for the American West and the presenters.
More important, you will have the rare, almost exotic experience of hearing people of different partisan affiliations consider a national issue in a civil, thoughtful and lively conversation. As the conference title’s direct reference to “conflicting claims” makes clear, the conference organizers have made no effort to deny or suppress the reality of conflict. On the contrary, our goal — to use the phrasing of natural scientists — is to separate “signal” from “noise,” carefully and thoughtfully laying out areas of both agreement and disagreement.
Presenting at the conference will be former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, and former Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, a Republican who lost office when challenged by a Tea Party candidate. Speaking at a session — on the challenge of making science-based decisions while being shouted at and litigated against by agitated constituents — will be Mike Dombeck, former chief forester and director of the Bureau of Land Management under Democratic presidential administrations; and Lynn Scarlett, former deputy secretary of the Interior in the George W. Bush administration. All of these individuals are people who have chosen forthright, substantive expression over the alternative of vilification, blame, and demonization.
After years of transforming public land into private property, the federal government’s land management underwent an enormous change. Fears and worries about unregulated extraction of resources led to the creation of new institutions: the Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the agency with the largest domain of all, the under-recognized Bureau of Land Management (the BLM). For years, the BLM carried the nickname, the Bureau of Livestock and Mining. Over two centuries, the BLM and its ancestor agency the General Land Office have served as a political and cultural seismograph, recording the nation’s changing attitudes toward and uses of land and resources.
There is no better focal point for a study of the paired and intertwined questions of how we live with nature and how we live with each other.
Over the last two decades, I have had the good fortune to occupy a prime seat on the 50- yard-line, watching the federal land management agencies as they navigate through times of dramatic change. Attending the “Nation Possessed” conference will position you in a comparably well-placed seat.
One of the issues that you usually don’t hear much about in the press are “lands” issues. Lands people, in my opinion, are among the unsung heroes of the Forest Service.
If you talk to them, you will find out some of the problems facing public lands-
neighbors attempting to cut off access to the public, through
land exchanges, trespass and subsequently being granted the land through efforts of their Congresspeople, putting gates on public roads, signing public roads as private, removing Forest Service signs, and probably other approaches I have not yet heard about.
Because of the relative tininess of each individual action, it is difficult to get a handle on the overall size of the problem. I have heard that it is difficult to get the courts involved, again, due to the individual size of each incursion and the workload of the Justice Department- although some are successfully litigated. My understanding is that there simply aren’t enough people funded to keep an eye on these kinds of things to keep up with the need.
Here’s a discussion about the roads problem- the question raised was “how can you tell if the “private” signs are accurate?”
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to tell. In Wyoming, you can check the commissioners’ records at the local courthouse to find out the surveyed route of all the county roads, and get copies of the easements (or orders) establishing the road. Even then, you can get into issues regarding whether the county road has been abandoned, and reverted to private.
The forest service roads are not so easy, because the forest service is so bad about either maintaining their roads, or keeping records regarding which ones are public and private. It is not uncommon for private inholders in the forest who block a road through their property, which was built and maintained by the public long before their property was private. The Forest Service (or the public) is left to file suit to enjoin the blockage, and they usually conclude it is not worth the money to bring suit.
I just finished working on a lawsuit where this precise issue was involved, and the forest service won the suit, but they had allowed the road to remain blocked for over a decade. If they hadn’t convinced the U.S. Attorney to bring suit to establish a trail along the old railroad bed passing through the same property, they would never have sued just to reopen the road.
There are several theories under which the forest service, the local county commission or the public can sue to enjoin a landowner from blocking a public road. (prescriptive easements, R.S. 2477, implied easement, simple lack of right) Sadly, the amount of historical research necessary to prevail in those suits means that few ever get brought, due to the cost. The private landowners know this, so they routinely just block the roads, and dare anyone to do anything about it.
The worst abuse I’ve seen in Wyoming is where a private landowner (with buddies on the county commission) will grant an easement for a county road, get the county to pay to build the road, then convince the commissioners to abandon the road later. The landowner, in the process, just got the taxpayers to build him a nice long driveway, thank you very much. I can point to a couple of these in my county.
Here’s a story in the Denver Post yesterday about a land exchange. It’s not clear to me why one individual’s desire to join pieces of property is more important than traditional rights of access for the public.
At the root of the controversy is the fact that the swap is being carried out with legislation rather than through an administrative process as most of the land swaps in the country are done.
That means there is no environmental review process before the trade takes place: There are no formal public hearings that would put a spotlight on the trade rather than making it just another item on a county commission’s agenda.
That is one reason a national watchdog group devoted to overhauling the way the government trades public land is looking askance.
The Western Lands Project in Seattle is questioning the transparency and is troubled that Koch included land in two states (Colorado and Utah) and land involving two federal management agencies. Those factors guarantee the trade must be done through legislation.
“The thing that bothers me about this bill — it appears to me this whole thing was engineered to keep it out of the normal public process. All of our questions could have been answered if this hadn’t been done legislatively,” Western Lands director Janine Blaeloch said.
Goldstein said Koch is only interested in having a much larger ranch in Gunnison County so he can hunt and ride horses and have a place to put his extensive collection of Western memorabilia. He has had enough of people trespassing from the quarter-mile-wide strip of public land that runs through the ranch. The trade would fix that.
Hmm. If there is public access, and people trespass on nearby private land, and the proposed solution is to cut off public access, then there is not much hope for much public land. Another solution would be to not buy (or sell) land that is adjacent to roads with public access.
Readers: do you have these kinds of problems in your neck of the woods?