What Can Happen if Federal Land is Sold Back to the State

House Bill 621, the one that would sell back 3.3 million acres of federal land, has been turned down. But, there are lingering questions about can happen if that land is sold back to the states.

Where would selling federal land affect the most? 

I talked to Jerusha Greenwood, Ph.D. in parks, recreation and tourism management, about what the damages of selling the federal land back to the states.

Greenwood made the point that this depends on the purpose of how they sell it back, “BLM land that is desert and in the middle of nowhere that has a lot of great mining prospects might not have a lot of resistance for that land being sold to the state for purposes of that use.”

The Bureau of Land Management owns mineral rights to land which would be the most damaging to the environment if sold for the purpose of exploiting resources for local government revenue.

Despite bringing money in, this upsets many hunters and fishermen in areas that want rights and access to the land. 

Is California in the clear?

California loves its state parks, which includes every 1.6  million acre it owns. Buying the federal land back to the state parks doesn’t seem like an issue according to the volunteers and Greenwood.

Greenwood said, “In California, there is generally less of a concern that land would be converted to other uses because of the prevailing political party and opinions regarding open parks in California.” She added that “A lot of large parks are tourist spots like the redwood trees and the coastal areas.”

California State Parks also draw in the support:

“In 2013, nonprofits contributed more than $12 million to California state parks, while nearly 40,000 volunteers donated more than 1 million hours of their time.” — A New Vision For California State Parks,  February 2015

I talked to two volunteer docent, Eileen and Mike Murta, at Montaña De Oro State Parl who spend their time at the Spooner Ranch House Museum and General Store. Eileen said, “this is the place where the locals bring their out-of-town guests to see the sights.”

While Mike said, “Docents are very grateful to be volunteering here because it is such a beautiful and rustic place, and there have been human living here for so long.”

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The bigger picture:

Even though California may be fine there are other states who might be fighting to keep the federal land.

Only time can tell if another bill will be introduced and if the people know the actual effects for the land.


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