Home > Uncategorized > The Geography of Nope – NYTimes.com

The Geography of Nope – NYTimes.com

SALT LAKE CITY — In a part of Italy where chestnut trees are thick in the Apennine foothills, I once asked a neighbor in the little community where we lived how I might kill a wild boar. This impulse was driven by appetite, mostly — glimpses of those feral beasts on my morning runs that had me dreaming of a blood-red ragu made of local cinghiale.

The answer was, dream on. If you want to hunt in Italy, or most of Europe for that matter, you’d better belong to a private club, with access to a rich man’s estate.

It struck me then, in the kind of epiphany that takes living in another country to appreciate, that the public land endowment of the United States is one of the greatest perks of this democracy. Rich or poor, every citizen of the United States of America has title to an area almost the size of Italy.

This ticket to roam free in the American backyard is no constitutional guarantee. The great, unfenced public domain, much of it forested or hidebound in sage and mesquite, is the envy of the rest of the world only because a few visionary souls bucked the powers of their day.

But now the powers of this day are trying to tear away at that inheritance. The election could determine whether big sections of our shared setting continue to be held by the general public. A radical plan to overhaul a century of sensible balance has been embraced by the Republican presidential ticket.

Handing over millions of acres of public land has long been a dream borne on the vapors of single-malt Scotch sipped inside trophy homes in the 1 percent ZIP codes of the West. Usually, the idea vanishes with the vapors. Not this year.

First, a little background. We play on this turf — national parks, national forests and the 252 million acres of the Bureau of Land Management. We use much of it as a source for oil and natural gas. We look to it for clues about the continent’s first inhabitants: native sites, holding shards of cultures that predate Charlemagne’s time. Or we just let it be.

Finding the right balance is the trick. Imagine two families who hate each other trying to manage the same summer home. The biggest threats over the last 50 years have come from demands of the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion — a Western-sounding name for a property grab by well-connected special interests.

via The Geography of Nope – NYTimes.com.

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: