Free State Project Forum

Archive => Which State? => Topic started by: Solitar on October 30, 2002, 08:20:11 pm

Title: Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: Solitar 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.
Quote
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
Title: Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
Post by: JasonPSorens 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.)
Title: Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
Post by: Charley 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?

Title: Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
Post by: Eddie_Bradford 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
Title: Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
Post by: Charley 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?
Title: Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
Post by: rocket-j-squirrel 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...
Title: Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
Post by: JasonPSorens 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.
Title: Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
Post by: Elizabeth 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.
Title: Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
Post by: ZionCurtain on November 05, 2002, 06:34:48 pm
That map is very disturbing.

North Dakota looked pretty wide open though.
Title: Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
Post by: Barbara 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?"
Title: Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
Post by: JasonPSorens 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.
Title: Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
Post by: Barbara 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).
Title: Nye Nevada approach
Post by: Cal 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
Title: Re:Percent federal land does NOT matter!
Post by: Barbara 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. :D
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: Zxcv 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! ;D

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
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: mtPete on December 16, 2002, 01:57:53 am
Don't discount the federal land as lost to us. There is a huge movement afoot in the western rancher communitee to resist the environmentalists and the federal beuracracy. Do some internet searching on Klamath Basin, Elko Nevada, or the Jarbridge bucket brigade.

Also, one might want to do a little more research on that map. I have seen other maps and I don't know that that map is completely accurate, at least in respect to Eastern Montana. Though it may be right.
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: Mark on December 16, 2002, 12:40:02 pm


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?



http://www.micro-mania.net/maniac/Nye,Nevada.doc   - you should get a download prompt now.




A question - anybody know if Indian lands are included in government owned figures? I know the Fed has jurisdiction on Indian land. also, I believe the right of purchase of Indian land by US citizens is included in many treaties, atleast up here in NY.
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: Mark on December 16, 2002, 12:51:35 pm
http://www.stanley2002.org/land.htm


Stanley's new homesteading thing. I've seen alot of people pooh-pooh this idea. I have no idea why though. there is NO shortage of land or resources in the US (actual land use is in single digits - "urban sprawl" myths aside) yet we are forced into scarcity economics and politics by anti-humanist environmentalist, land speculators and their guv'ment whores.


A strong "Liberty Ark" group of FSPers with skills and $$$ that could build a road and utility services (that's why most individuals don't buy cheap, remote land - lack economy of scale and the broad range of skills) could infuse a remote, underdeveloped area with a Gold Rush type economic boom.
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: JasonPSorens on December 16, 2002, 12:53:58 pm

A question - anybody know if Indian lands are included in government owned figures?

No, they aren't.  However, in most states tribal lands are a negligible percentage of the total (except Arizona & New Mexico).  This is according to the site linked from the State Data page (look for "state by state government land ownership").
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: Mark on December 16, 2002, 01:24:10 pm
ok, thanks Jason.




Zxcv, you're gonna have to cut'n'paste that url. the board funks it up. same prompt should pop-up though.
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: mtPete on December 17, 2002, 08:43:18 pm
Indian reservations is an issue that should be looked into. There are a lot of politics surrounding that issue: jurrisdiction, who owns the land, independence movements, state-tribe relations, economics, etc. I don't know how much they might affect the choosing of a state, but they sure could complicate our relations with the locals. For instance in SD there is much hostility between the two groups (as a result of the uprising in the '70s), but it is practically a non issue in MT most of the time.
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: Kelton on December 23, 2002, 03:03:47 am
I just unfolded my National Geographic Society map entitled, Federal Lands In the Fifty States Washington D.C., 1996
First, let me say that Delaware is virtually free of having land under federal domain. ---No other state even comes close to Delaware for lack of areas marked by federal use according to this map by the National Geographic Society Cartographic Division.
A quick glance of this map (I do not know if this map is available online) reveals that most of the entire West is colored with ownership by various federal departments and agencies, the east much less so, and Delaware having only two parcels "too small to distinguish at the scale of this map" under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a third dot near the city of Dover denoting a national estuarine research reserve on state land but under control of the Department of Commerce.
 Why is this important?
Taboo subjects such as secession aside, the subject of federal ownership of land within a state is an important consideration, despite assertions to the contrary.

1. The feds have a large latitude of Constitutionally-mandated power to control federal land and many regulations concerning federal land have tended to also affect any private property adjacent, or otherwise construed as connected to federal land.
2. The amount of land available for private ownership within a state for is physically reduced and even distorted by public lands within that state.  Though a larger state with much federal land may have more land overall than a smaller state with less, such public lands may isolate growth or tend to cause localized price distortions, such as the case with extreme prices for private land in Jackson Hole, WY.  It also tends to isolate communities by limiting transportation opportunities.
3. States with considerable amounts of public lands also have special interest groups that are politically mobilized to maintain or enlarge those lands by the government for the uses of those lands that politically motivate them.  On the other hand, lands that have been under private use for centuries tend to only arouse passions with their respective current owners and stewards.  
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: Zxcv on December 23, 2002, 08:03:52 pm
Quote
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.  

Quote
1. The feds have a large latitude of Constitutionally-mandated power to control federal land...

I thought the Constitution did not even allow the feds to own land in the various states, outside of post offices and (arguably) army bases. Do you have documentation to the contrary? If what I think is true, we may have to deal with our share of the federal debt, but we sure don't have to pay them for land they are illegally holding!

Quote
2. The amount of land available for private ownership within a state for is physically reduced and even distorted by public lands within that state.

Yeah, but not as reduced as going to Delaware.  ;)

Quote
3. States with considerable amounts of public lands also have special interest groups that are politically mobilized to maintain or enlarge those lands by the government for the uses of those lands that politically motivate them.

Very true. But the other side of that coin is the irritation in the state at this outside meddling. That can be very useful to us:

1) It will be a talking point we can use to convince the people to give up their federal subsidies - dump subsidies, get lower taxes and get control of that land the feds are now holding.

2) It will be a big help in authentisizing the FSP in the eyes of the locals, if we push as hard as possible the issue or returning these lands to the state.
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: Hank on August 04, 2003, 05:47:12 pm
Zxcv,
The United States (aka, Federal Government) owned all of the land west of the Appalachians (they had bought it (or stole it) from other nations). The only land they now own is what nobody else claimed or were given for towns, mines, farms, ranches, railroads, schools, etc.  Mountains had most of the unclaimed area since usually only railroads or miners claimed such rough, unproductive land.

Somewhen in history the Federal Government shut off any more claims.
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: Penfist on August 04, 2003, 07:05:39 pm
The problem is that the Constitution doesn't allow the federal government to own any land. It specifically says, "To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, byCession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and 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, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings. . ."

Nothing at all in there about making the Louisiana Purchase, or owning 70% of a state's land mass, etc., etc. It's very clear that the Feds don't need the vast majority of Alaska to erect forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards and other buildings.
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: Rich T. on August 09, 2003, 08:31:49 am
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.

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)
State Percentage (fed & state own of total area)Area left
Maine 94.3%(1,762 of 30,865) 29,103
Delaware 92.6%(143 of 1,955) 1,812
South Dakota 91.1%(6,712 of 75,898) 69,186
North Dakota 90.8%(6,310 of 68,994) 62,684
Vermont 84%(1,458 of 9,249)   7,791
New Hampshire 82%(1,609 of 8,969) 7,360
 Montana 62.5%(54,545 of 145,556) 91,010
 Wyoming 44%(54,323 of 97,105)  42,782
 Idaho 29.6%(58,231 of 82,751) 24,520
 Alaska 4%(546,605 of 570,374) 23,770

Amount of land NOT owned by the federal government
in squre miles
State Percentage(fed own of total area) Area left
Maine 98.7%(373 of 30,865)   30,492
 Delaware 97.5%(48 of 1,955) 1,907
 North Dakota 92.6%(5,041 of 68,994) 63,953
 South Dakota 91.2%(6,572 of 75,898) 69,326
Vermont 85.8%(1,309 of 9,249) 7,940
New Hampshire 84.9%(1,352 of 8,969) 7,617
Montana 68.1%(46,426 of 145,556) 99,130
Wyoming 50.2%(48,284 of 97,105) 48,821
Idaho 34.8%(53,937 of 82,751) 28,814
Alaska 32.9%(382,230 of 570,374)188,145
Title: Re:Percent of Federal, State, and Private Land
Post by: freedomroad on August 12, 2003, 04:03:14 am

3. States with considerable amounts of public lands also have special interest groups that are politically mobilized to maintain or enlarge those lands by the government for the uses of those lands that politically motivate them.

Not just those states but all states.  Heck, VT and NH (two states with very little federal land) always have groups stirring that are trying to get the cities or state to buy more land for use as a park or something.