Candidates Ignore Public Land Use Policy


With a campaign season that will last literally years before it's over in November, you would think the presidential candidates would have time enough time to talk about every issue of consequence. But that's not the case.

"There is one nonpartisan issue critically important to residents of Western states that none of the candidates are focused on: stewardship of our public lands and restoring them to good health," writes Howard Gross, executive director of the Forest Guild, in an op-ed published in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Nearly half the land in the 11 Western states is public land managed by the federal government. That means federal public land management policy has a huge impact on rural communities.

Gross argues for a management approach that gives local communities a voice in how their public lands are managed. He cites the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program as an example of a program that has successfully used this method to improve forest health, reduce fire risk, and create economic opportunity for rural communities.

But much more needs to be done to improve stewardship of our public lands. The Western states of Oregon, Idaho and New Mexico still have primaries remaining. What do you say, candidates?