Okay, I should've started a new thread instead of putting the following table in the compendium of More Criteria thread where I continue to post a wide variety of comparitive criteria.http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=247
In the state data page we find this explanation for including fed land ownership.
Another aspect of viability that is occasionally mentioned is federal land ownership. More federal land ownership might mean an excuse for federal meddling in the state, but it could also mean a legitimate grievance for the state's citizens. So it's not clear whether more federal land ownership is worse, better, or irrelevant.
Yet, in spite of that statement, So much worry is still spent in many threads on how much of a state is owned by the feds. Yes, the feds can meddle, but ONLY to the extent of their land ownership. They can not meddle in private land, and the Free State would have grounds to force the issue all the way to the US Supreme Court when they do. Sure they could meddle in private affairs to the degree those affairs affect the federal holdings. But how is that different than if Weyerhauser or Great Northern or Harry Potter owned that land? Would not libertarians hold that those private interests would have a say about what neighboring land owners do that affect their private property?
So what is the issue with the federal lands? That they could lock the locals out of those lands? How is that different than if those lands were not there in the first place -- e.g. subtracted from the total? And remember that much of those lands are watershed and wildlife habitat and neither the water nor the wildlife stay behind those property lines. Even if locked up behind a line of green uniforms, those lands are still a net benefit. My premise is that the amount or percentage of federal land does not hurt the Free State! It is the amount of land left in private ownership which is the most important criteria!
How is discounting a state because a large resource of forest, mountains, minerals, grassland, lakes, etc. is in federal ownership any different than discounting it for not having those resources in the first place? What if a smaller state has more square miles of private
forest and mountains than a much larger state?
What is the area the Free State can actually use for private advantage? If you include any
of the federally owned land then you are making a case for it being an advantage - mining, forests, water, recreation, grazing, etc. That the Free State would have to wrestle with the feds over access to that land must be compared to not having it at all -- if you just wrote off any access to it. So, regardless of the fed factor, such land is a net gain.
During the first decade or so of the Free State the amount of State-owned land may be a criteria - then again it may not for the same reasons above. It will take a long time for the State to divest itself of its holdings - if it does so at all given the public demand for parks, state game lands, etc.
As to the issue of reclaiming federal land -- it ain't gonna happen folks -- at least not in your lifetime even if you are just graduating high school. So that is a dead issue not deserving of its separate thread. The US Gov't will be lord over those federal lands for decades to come. Washington will have to secede from the rest of the US -- which is a possibility if worse comes to worst. The fed influence may contract to a hundred mile deep swath from NYC to D.C. -- the same area it started with 220 years ago. But back to the topic of why the federal land percentage does not matter to the success of the Free State.Since private land is what the Free Staters will have to work with, let's look at just how much of it is in each candidate state.
Note how little is left in Alaska when federal and state owned land is substracted from the total (and remember that in Alaska the state government does not have to listen to the citizens it pays off with an annual stipend - oil buys votes - especially those of more dependent sheople in a large metro area like Anchorage). Since the fed and state land may be out of reach, let's look at the amount of private land (or at least the area not owned by fed or state government since cities and other local governments own some too).Maine has more private land than Alaska!Amount of land NOT owned by federal or state governments
in square miles.
(this is not all privately owned since local city, county, and special districts own some)
area left State (federal&
state ownership of total area in square miles)
91,010 Montana (54,545 of 145,556)
69,186 South Dakota (6,712 of 75,898)
62,684 North Dakota (6,310 of 68,994)
42,782 Wyoming (54,323 of 97,105)
29,103 Maine (1,762 of 30,865)
24,520 Idaho (58,231 of 82,751)
23,770 Alaska (546,605 of 570,374)
7,791 Vermont (1,458 of 9,249)
7,360 New Hampshire (1,609 of 8,969)
1,812 Delaware (143 of 1,955)Amount of land NOT owned by the federal government
in square miles.
area left State (federal ownership of total area in square miles)
188,145 Alaska (382,230 of 570,374)
99,130 Montana (46,426 of 145,556)
69,326 South Dakota (6,572 of 75,898)
63,953 North Dakota (5,041 of 68,994)
48,821 Wyoming (48,284 of 97,105)
30,492 Maine (373 of 30,865)
28,814 Idaho (53,937 of 82,751)
7,940 Vermont (1,309 of 9,249)
7,617 New Hampshire (1,352 of 8,969)
1,907 Delaware (48 of 1,955)
Source (though converted from acres to sq. miles):http://www.nwi.org/Maps/LandChart.html