08 November 2005

Selling Federal Lands: Sense and Nonsense.

Why is there so much federal land in the West? Because the homesteaders didn't want it.

Where could revenue be squeezed from? "[I]ncreasing revenues from grazing leases, timber sales, mineral royalties and the like." Also:

Most of our swank ski resorts have their lifts and runs on federal land; they operate under leases and permits from the Forest Service. Don't you think those corporations would bid big bucks to own that land? Especially if there was a chance of being out-bid by a competitor?

I examined real-estate listings from Pitkin County, home of Aspen, and found rural parcels being offered at about $18,000 an acre. They "adjoin National Forest," so the adjacent National Forest lands ought to fetch similar prices. The same should hold around other resort towns like Crested Butte, Telluride, Vail and Steamboat Springs.

In contrast, we now give that land away for $1 an acre to companies making dubious plans about conducting mining in those locations.

No comments: