Here is a link to the panel discussion. I don't come in until almost 7 minutes in, but then I get a lot of innings after that. For those who post the inevitable "you look nothing like I thought you would" comments, please post what you thought I looked like. I am always curious. What mental image am I projecting that I get this comment so often when my picture gets posted somewhere?
Posts tagged ‘National Parks’
Here is today's lament in the Arizona Republic:
Government plans to more than double the size of Petrified Forest
National Park appear to be in jeopardy because Congress has failed to
come up with the cash to buy surrounding properties.
The upshot: An irreplaceable treasure of dinosaur bones and Indian
ruins may be lost as ranchers sell off their properties for subdivision
And Petrified Forest is not alone. A study to be released April 8 by
the non-profit National Parks Conservation Association, says 56 federal
historic and recreation sites "could lose
land inside their borders to developers this year." Others on the list
range from Gettysburg National Military Park near Philadelphia to
Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco.
Here is an idea: All you folks who are worried about these "treasures" can pool your money and buy the properties yourselves. That way you can either take charge of the preservations or donate the land to the government to do so. This is how many public parks came into being in the first place, from private donations.
Of course, this was back in the days when environmental groups actually spent their money on the environment. Today, they spend their money instead on lobbying. The more modern approach is not to spend your own money on the environment, but to lobby the government to force other people to spend their money on the environment. That is why people have apparently donated $300 million dollars (!) to Al Gore to create an advertising campaign dedicated to trying to spur government action on CO2. Rather than donating money to help solve the problem, people now donate money to push for government coercion.
Besides representing the modern approach to environmentalism (ie don't work the problem, just lobby the government to force other people to work the problem), Gore's campaign also represents a new frontier in rent-seeking. He has managed to get people to donate $300 million dollars to advocate government action that will likely have very little actual impact on the climate, but may have a huge impact on Al Gore's managed $5 billion investment fund. Congrats, Al. Even the kings of rent-seeking at ADM would not have had the cojones to ask folks to donate to a charitable advertising fund to support their subsidy requests.
Yesterday, I talked about my fondness for private conservation projects. Today, the NY Times makes it clear that they are not so fond of private conservation. In an article about environmentalist-triggered death of logging in the west, the Times observes that many rich folks are taking up the opportunity to buy large tracts of western forests for second homes and ranches.
William P. Foley II pointed to the mountain. Owns it, mostly. A timber
company began logging in view of his front yard a few years back. He
thought they were cutting too much, so he bought the land.
Mr. Foley belongs to a new wave of investors and landowners across the
West who are snapping up open spaces as private playgrounds on the
borders of national parks and national forests.
Cool, a win-win -- conservation without use of tax funds or government coersion. But instead of being thrilled, the Times adopts their patented sneering tone they use with anything having to do with wealth.
The rise of a new landed gentry in the West is partly another
expression of gilded age economics in America; the super-wealthy elite
wades ashore where it will.
Hmm, I would have thought it an example of how increases in wealth in the US has always driven higher environmental standards and more conservation. The NY Times tries to portray this as something like turning national parks into sprawling suburbs, lamenting the "increase in density," but this is just a joke and a product of a bunch of New Yorkers who have never really spent time in Montana. There is zero danger of any kind of urbanization here, and their very story belies this fact when it talks about 640 acre lot sizes.
The real problem for them seems to be one of access, and they lament that these new owners tend to put up no trespassing signs rather than allowing public access as private loggers used to. But in so arguing, the Times is trying to have it both ways. Eliminating recreation access from western lands is a HUGE priority for environmentalists. In fact, though many in America don't know it, within a few decades it may be impossible to drive into national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. I know and work with the management of the National Parks, and many of their leaders do not consider their job finished until they get all the visitors out of the parks. So throwing up no trespassing signs to recreators is exactly what environmentalists want on these lands. What they don't like, because many are openly socialist, is private ownership of these lands. They know that increasingly, because they have gotten so good at filing lawsuits and forcing public lands officials to do their bidding, that public ownership means, effectively, ownership by the environmental groups.