Dear Editor:

As a lifelong hunter, fisherman, outdoor enthusiast and Utahn who is also a Republican, I rely on Western-state public land for my activities. It is angering and dismaying to see crackpot Bundy-type “militia” groups, entitled-feeling ranchers and hubristic Utah and other Western politicians – including my own representatives – attempt to take that land from me. National Forest, BLM and other public land belongs to all Americans, not just a few with self-serving interests. It’s what makes the West the West.

Hunters, fishermen, and others who enjoy public land, wake up to what’s happening. Don’t be duped by arrogant political talk of “states being able to manage the land better than the feds.” Yes, communication and cooperation between the feds and locals need some work, but if a transfer to the states succeeds, the land will of necessity be managed for maximum economic gain with little regard for wildlife, aesthetics or recreational users. It will be overgrazed, overmined, overdrilled and overlogged by politically well-connected private interests, and when hard times for states come around again as they always do, the land will be sold off to those interests. Then the “NO TRESPASSING” signs go up.

Contact your representatives (federal, state, county) and tell them to leave your public land alone.