The regular fires in National Forests every summer, have been brought home to Durango in the peak summer season, costing businesses needed summer profits, and keeping away anxious tourists wanting to view the glories of America’s Rocky Mountains. It didn’t have to happen. Allow me to quote parts of a book I wrote 30 years ago, titled “I Hold These Truths.” It’s long out of print, so I am not trying to sell books!) From Chapter 8 titled Federal Lands: “Among the general powers of Congress are, To exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, stock yards, and other needful buildings.”
Congress stated in 1787 that when new States are added to the Union, it was to be, “On equal footing with the original States in all respects whatsoever.” The original 13 States had no “Public Lands,” or land owned by the fledgling central government. Land in the original 13 colonies was all privately owned, or belonged to the States. If central government needed land for the ‘erection of forts, etc,’ it bought the land from the State.
“Get the point? The only lands authorized by the Constitution to be owned by the federal government are lands that have been bought from the individual States, and then ONLY for the uses of forts, stockyards, etc. I would love to see the deeds given to Uncle Sam for the 86.2% of total land areas in Nevada, 81% in Alaska, 52% in Oregon, 49.6% in California, 64% in Idaho, 67% in Utah, 49% in Wyoming, 41% in Arizona, and huge parts of Colorado and other states the government claims, administers, controls, and ruins in many cases. Such deeds do not exist. The states never deeded or sold these lands to the federal government.”
I won’t bore the reader with further quotes from my book, which prove without doubt that ‘public lands’ are a gigantic fraud, and in the case of Durango, the results have been tragic and continue, as the fire consumes dead beetle infested trees, thick undergrowth, and a forest which has been virtually inviting a fire for many decades. Just imagine that if the State of Colorado owned the land as the Constitution authorized, and the state had sold it to private owners, there would be no fires here or in other places now burning in our state, on National Forest land. Privately owned land is cared for, thinned, fertilized, taxes paid, and lumber sold at a profit. Owners of land, homes, and cars do not abuse them. Non owners such as government in National Forests, have no concept of profit or care, but place lands in the hands of bureaucrats, who may have the best interests at heart, but the size of their charge makes it impossible to care for correctly.
Try to own a home without a deed, or a car without a title. Lots of luck. Please ask your senator or representative to show you the deed to a National Forest, and if he or she cannot, please urge them to vote to sell all National Forests to private owners who will care, nurture, feed, thin, and of course show a profit and pay taxes from their investment. The sales may put a huge dent in the national debt. Every summer, thousands of acres of National Forests go up in smoke, and I hope we are all sick of it.
Blame the train, lightening, or campers for the ignitions, but a privately owned forest will not be consumed by wildfire. The owner wouldn’t allow it.