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Author Topic: Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land  (Read 10227 times)
Solitar
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Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
« on: October 30, 2002, 08:20:11 pm »

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.
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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
« Last Edit: December 15, 2002, 11:52:32 pm by Joe » Logged
JasonPSorens
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Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2002, 08:39:05 pm »

I think % of federal land might actually be a slight benefit to us.  I've reached this conclusion after talking to Idahoans who are interested in our Project because of the possibility of reclaiming federal lands.  Btw, I actually do think reclamation is a possibility 20+ years down the road, in the same way that opting out of FICA tax is a possibility.  It will just require some negotiation.  If we can get the lands handed over to Indian tribes, that would do the trick.  Once it's in the market, it's in the market.  (My Yogi-ism of the day.)
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Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2002, 06:26:18 pm »

The one disadvantage of government owned land is that the environenmentalist movement would probably file law suits in federal court to stop any privitisation of public lands.   If it isn't owned by the gov't it can be bought & sold on the open market.  Isn't that what we want ??  Why pick a location where we have another battle to fight?

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Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2002, 10:26:14 pm »

Even though I don't care about the avalability of land and wouldn't mind moving to Monoco if it we could make it free, I still must point out that in much of this Federal land the homesteading act still applies!!!  That's right so go and build a shack on the land and live there for 5 years and it's yours!
-Eddie
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Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2002, 07:44:47 pm »

That is a very good point about the homestead act.  But, wasn't there a big flap a few years ago abt the feds evicting people after they had filed but before they had completed their 5 years of residence?
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Charley in WC
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Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2002, 03:06:17 pm »

Hello, all...

While I realize that Alaska is pretty low on most peoples' list, it seems to me that such a wealth of natural resources should not be overlooked - - despite the climate (and I am writing this from SoCal).   To that end I have a question about the following...

On the state reports page, under Alaska, Joseph Littlejohn writes:  "Their main issue is self determination. A vote was held in 1958 giving Alaska the right to either become a state, remain a territory, or become a commonwealth. The AIP believes that United Nations resolutions on the right to self-determination meant that they should have been given the right to choose independence. Therefore, they favor a new referendum including independence as an option."

So what happens if FSPers move to Alaska, push the vote in the UN, and independence passes?  Could the newly-founded country of Alaska just nationalize all the assets in the state?  This would not be warmly welcomed in D.C., but are they likely to invade?  Additionally, federalizing the land would allow the citizens of Alaska to decide on how the resources could be developed, etc., not to mention probably providing a fair number of jobs as these resources are mined, drilled, etc.

I am new to all this (this is only my second post ever) but if there is that much of a spirit of independence in such a sparsely populated state, which just happens to have a wealth of natural resources, doesn't it merit a closer look?

Just a thought...
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Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2002, 05:05:18 pm »

Probably if Alaska gained independence, it would have to take on its share of the U.S. debt and compensate the federal government for some of the lands it takes.  I firmly do not believe that the federal government would invade a state that secedes after a fair and free vote of the majority.  Others disagree with me here, but regardless, I think Alaska deserves a close look.
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Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2002, 06:11:26 pm »

This map is pretty impressive:

http://www.nwi.org/Maps/GovLands.html

We should put this on the website somewhere.
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Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2002, 06:34:48 pm »

That map is very disturbing.

North Dakota looked pretty wide open though.
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Barbara
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Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2002, 06:36:39 pm »

If we can get the lands handed over to Indian tribes, that would do the trick.  Once it's in the market, it's in the market.
Since when are tribal lands "in the market?"
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Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2002, 09:19:26 pm »

Tribes often lease out their lands; I'm not sure whether they're able to sell, but I think they'd reform their internal rules to allow sale if they got a windfall of land that they couldn't use.
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Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2002, 01:51:40 pm »

I'm just not sure how often they do that - my suspicion is that it is not very.  Leases are less than optimal for long term planning (at least many of my clients have found this).
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Nye Nevada approach
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2002, 09:41:13 am »

The county where Nye Nevada is came under control of one family. This in itself can be problematic.

Here is a word document that was put together by these persons.
I have no in depth knowledge of the issues discussed in this document, so don't bother asking me questions. Read it, and evaluate on its own merits. For your interest.

(install the usual, then)--.micro-mania.net/maniac/Nye,Nevada.doc

feel free to pass this document around
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Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2002, 11:47:13 am »

Wow. Cal.

That document is very interesting, and could have broad implications for every state and impact FSP activities in any state it eventually chooses.  

I recommend once a state is chosen, the lawyers in the group (Tim Condon are you reading this?) immediately research this further with respect to that state.  

I am not a constitutional scholar, but my initial reading and review of the sources of the document makes me very optimistic.  I wonder what has occurred since the submission of the document - what actions have since been taken/challenged?

Now this could be fun. Cheesy
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Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2002, 12:38:28 am »

Quote
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.
Like Jason I think federal land might be a positive. If nothing else it provides a significant irritant to citizens of a state when their land is being run by an outside entity, along with all manner of nutty environmentalist mandates, etc. We can tap into that kind of sentiment. Look at this, it is dynamite:
http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nevada/2000/jul/04/510464612.html

I also agree it is not impossible to get some or all federal land returned. At the very least it is a huge embarrassment to the feds to have a state pressing them on their unconstitutional possession of this land. It might be a bargaining chip if nothing else.

I agree the remaining private/state land is the more important criterion.

Elizabeth, that map is amazing. While federal land is a useful irritant, there can always be too much of a good thing! I wish Wyoming had a little less of it. Actually the map might be a little misleading because I think it is more of a patchwork. According to Joe's numbers 44% is in federal and state hands, and the map makes it look like a lot more than 44%.

Call, I didn't catch how to get to that doc file. Is it something you could just post in this thread? Or is it too long?

I wonder if this is one of the things state governments let slide (letting the feds keep something they are not entitled to), because they didn't want to lose the various federal subsidies and block grants? Since we will be dumping them of our own accord, we won't be deterred that way. We really ought to push getting these lands back from the feds. The folks in these western states, anyway, will love us for it! Grin

The more I think of this, the more tapping into this Sagebrush Rebellion sentiment looks like a large positive for us.
http://www.rgj.com/news/stories/html/2002/04/20/12593.php
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