Sunday, October 11, 2009

National Parks

PBS recently ran a series called "National Parks, America's Best Idea" by Ken Burns. I strongly suggest that anyone with an interest in our National Parks or conservation or natural beauty watch this series. Even though I am not a "tree hugger", I do love the outdoors and nature and am glad that we have our National Parks, National Monuments and National Forests.

However, I am concerned about what the Federal Government has done in Alaska, our largest and most "natural" state. The Federal Government owns 65% of Alaska. Over 60% of this land (40% of Alaska) is National Parks, Refuges, Forests, etc. The State of Alaska owns 24% of the land. 3% is State Parks, etc. Alaska Native Corporations own 10% of Alaska. Only 1% of the largest state in the Union is owned by private citizens. In contrast, Texas (our second largest state) land ownership breaks down like this: Federal - 2.6%, State - 3.0%, Local - 0.14%, Private ownership of land in Texas - 94%.

Is Texas that much "less desirable" to the Feds than Alaska (they both have oil)? Or, was Texas settled before Big Government and special interests took over Washington? Don't get me wrong. I love the wildness that is Alaska. I hope to continue making regular treks to the Great Land to experience more and more of her beauty and strength. But come on, private land could be doubled and it would be 2% of the state. I think it could stand it.

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