Privatization does not always happen directly. Western Lands Project looks at the sneaky ways-

Wilderness Dedux. From the Goat Blog in High Country News.

In recent years we have seen the emergence of “quid pro quo” Wilderness, where Wilderness is designated only if some developors are authorized to do something bad in exchange. This was not the way Wilderness designation used to take place. It was done simply top protect a pristine place. Conflicts were worked out. If they could not be, the Wilderness proposal died.

Now proposals are made with the intent of weakening the act itself in exchange or facilitating some unrelated project. Western Public Lands has a free book (as a download). This book ($10 if you want a printed version) looks at the details of five of these wilderness proposals so to “illustrate the elaborate machinations and distortions” that we find in them. A number of these involve privatization in exchange for Wilderness designation.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is past President of the Western Watersheds Project and the creator of The Wildlife News.

2 Responses to Western Lands Project monitors public land privatization

  1. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    ironically & sadly, in many instances – it seems “W“ilderness has become a vehicle of extractive industry.

    we hear of “wilderness purists” in a negative light — to that i can only say – i guess i thought that’s what this thing we call wilderness was supposed to be all about …

  2. Thanks for letting people know about our book, Ralph. I want to note that while it does cover quid pro quo “wilderness” legislation, it also looks at the many other ways Congress privatizes public land through sales, trades, and outright giveaways. History, process, key congressional land dealers are also covered, as well as advice on how citizens can monitor and weigh in on these bills.

    Carving up the Commons (pdf)


July 2009


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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