Traveler's View: Republican Presidential Contenders' Dim View of Federal Lands Is Short-Sighted

Valley of the Gods in southern Utah is part of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management landscape. Should it be sold off or given to the state to manage? Kurt Repanshek photo.

Though national parks, per se, haven't come up during any of the debates among the Republican presidential candidates, their statements on federal lands in general look down upon the public landscape.

* “I don’t know why the government owns so much of this land.” -- Mitt Romney, during an appearance in Reno, Nevada, on February 2.

* “I want as much federal land to be turned over to the state(s) as possible.” -- Rep. Ron Paul, during an appearance in Elko, Nevada, on February 2. Mr. Paul also has called for the elimination of the Interior Department.

*"We need to get [federal lands] back into the hands of the states and even to the private sector.” -- Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, during an appearance in Boise, Idaho, on Valentine's Day.

Sadly, these views are shortsighted.

Were it not for the foresight of earlier Congresses that retained key parcels of land as states were carved out, we would not have places such as Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, and Glacier, nor would we have invested in landscapes that became Acadia, Great Smoky, and Shenandoah national parks.

Lacking that investment, we'd be the lesser for it. These treasures were protected when the specter of losing them to development wasn't even a glimmer on the national time-line—much less now, when development is omnipresent and we'd be "selling off" lands—Forest Service lands, Bureau of Land Management Lands—that are increasingly essential buffers around the priceless parks we are lucky to have. When you look at the Smokies, or Shenandoah, or Acadia, these incomparable landscapes are among some of the most-visited in the National Park System.

The federal government created these prized parks by having to go "back" into the private land market—and even those efforts, more than 75 years ago, took unbelieveable foresight and generated amazing controversy. To argue that we turn what public land we have rescued from a densely developed future back to private or even state ownership is irresponsible when in all likelihood there will be no opportunity to reverse that decision if we take it.

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The Wyoming Range is part of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. How might its management change if the federal government relinquished it? Kurt Repanshek photo.

How big would the Tongas National Forest in Alaska be, the Routt National Forest in Colorado, or the Sam Houston National Forest in Texas if Washington took a dim view on public lands and handed, or auctioned, them off?

Imagine the appearance of places such as the national forests surrounding Yellowstone were they turned over to the states or private hands, the broad sweep of lodgepole pine that stretches before you from atop Galena Pass in central Idaho, or even the wild seashore that is Cape Lookout National Seashore if it were given over for development.

The Public Deserves And Needs Public Lands

We need these lands in the public estate so we all might enjoy them, so we can get away from the rush of society and downshift a bit into the more relaxed flow of nature, so not every inch of the country is auctioned off to the highest dollar, for it might not be the wisest dollar.

That's not some anti-capitalistic view, either. Natural ecosystems such as Congaree National Park in South Carolina, the Tallgrass Praire National Preserve in Kansas, and Redwood National and State Parks in California, just to name three, are more than the sum of what they cost to maintain in tax dollars.

These assets already bear economic fruit in their present form. These natural resources—not to mention the very busiest, iconic units of the National Park system—spawn tens of millions of dollars for local communities and businesses nationally in purchases tied to recreation and tourism.

But beyond the pure dollars and cents value that can be placed on them, there's the intrinsic value of their simple existence. We need them for their clear air and clean water, their rugged and rumpled forests, their wildlife. Places such as the barrier islands off the East and Gulf coasts provide measures of protection for the mainland against hurricanes and tropical storms. Healthy forests provide protection against erosion and serve as water reservoirs and filters, as well as carbon sinks.

In the current economy, a number of states are closing their state parks as cost-saving measures. How can the Republican candidates for president assume they'd be able to take over federal lands and manage them as they deserve to be managed? And then there's the unknown that exists in these landscapes. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park, nearly 7,400 species, including some 922 totally new to science, have been discovered since the All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory began in 1998. How many of those might be beneficial in some form to human life, either through medical discoveries or pollution combatants?

The value of public lands isn't lost on Westerners, among the most traditionally conservative voters in the country. A survey of Westerners shows overwhelming support for conservation of the landscape, with strong pluralities agreeing that "national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife areas, are an essential part" of their state economies.

In the states of Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Montana, some of which rank politically among the "reddest" states in the country, the survey showed a broad bipartisan support for a clean, healthy environment. Beyond providing for a clean environment and a recreational outlet, public lands also contribute to the country's energy needs. While granting leases for coal, natural gas, and oil extraction, the government also takes in billions of dollars in royalties that generate PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) payments for the states, helps fund the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund that pays for conservation land purchases, and are shared with state governments outright.

In Utah, where U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop and Republicans in the state Legislature want the federal government to transfer all federal lands, outside of national parks and designated wilderness areas, the state received $34.6 million in PILT payments in FY2011, second only to the $38 million the state of California received.

That $34.6 million sent to Utah is frosting atop the estimated $6.5 BILLION in tourism spending the state's collection of national parks, monuments, and historic sites generated in 2010. As the country expands development of renewable energy, large tracts of public lands are needed for solar and wind energy projects. Would they be possible if these landscapes were privately owned?

Public Lands Bring Economic Value Without Being Developed

It's well understood that there is significant economic value in public lands and the ecosystems they contain and protect. But there's also concern that societies across the world are either not appreciating this intrinsic value, or are consuming it as they might any other natural resource, such as timber. But these landscapes are not self-renewing.

"... the problem of global ecological scarcity is becoming more acute, not less," notes Edward B. Barbier in his latest book, Capitalizing on Nature, Ecosystems as Natural Assets. "If we believe that ecosystems are essential natural assets, and that we should be formulating policies and management strategies to conserve more ecosystems rather than allowing them to disappear, humankind is clearly doing a poor job of it."

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Part of the BLM landscape in Utah, White Wash Dunes is an ecologically sensitive and unique area. Kurt Repanshek photo.

Our public landscape is woven through our society in terms of recreation, logging and mining, agriculture, natural beauty and even in our history in places such as Hubbell Trading Post and the Oregon Trail.

To pare away this heritage would be wrong.

For years and years Republicans at the state and national level have led the way or been willing partners with Democrats in a vision of "conservation" as a "conservative" value. That heritage—and sadly, a long list of landmark accomplishments achieved under it—are being rolled back right now by an overzealous group of partisans pushing the idea that the sale or exploitation of our national lands is a quick way to boost the economy or cut the deficit.

In reality, those lands are "riches in our national bank account" that should be husbanded not only for the "potential" of future generations—but also to address the equally or more pressing "problems" those generations may face. Like borrowing too much money or buying too much house, liquidating that bank account of national lands is not only not "conservation," it's not "conservative." It is much more like the policies that "got us into this mess" than it is a way out.


Straw man. No GOP contender wants to turn Yellowstone, Grand Canyon or other signficant park - if any park - over to the states.

Not a straw man at all. But by chipping away slowly and steadily, that time will come. Give them time and when the dollars are there, who knows what may happen?

Thanks, NPT, for an excellent article and warning. Only one thing I might take exception to, and that is your line saying "These treasures were protected when the specter of losing them to development wasn't even a glimmer on the national time-line . . . " Actually, it was much more than a glimmer. The robber barons were extracting immense treasures and large swaths of our land had already been laid waste by logging for such things as railroad ties and mine timbers. Teddy Roosevelt saw the writing on the land and took action to prevent what was clearly going to become an unimaginable catastrophe.

Given that "Yellowstone, Grand Canyon or other signficant park" are federal lands, and that Santorum states he wants "to get federal lands back into the hands of the states and even to the private sector" and Paul states he wants "as much federal land to be turned over to the state(s) as possible," there is no possible way to read this as a strawman, unless Santorum and Paul are lying.

Never any doubt where your sentiments lie, Lee.
You might include how those same loggers contributed to all those WWII Liberty Ships that were built that helped us to defeat Imperial Japan and the Nazi march through Europe. The post war advancement of prosperity and living conditions (possibly your own) is significant also. Just thought I'd add a little balance...

Editor's note: This comment was edited to remove a gratuitous remark. Furthermore, this might be comparing apples and oranges, as the land-preservation efforts by President Roosevelt occurred decades before World War II broke out and were focused on preserving truly magnificent landscapes, while the logging you allude to took place on national forest lands, which were indeed set aside for multiple-use -- both recreation and resource extraction. Too, Liberty Ships were largely prefabricated out of steel. How much wood went into them? For what it's worth, logging in the Smokies, before Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established, reportedly removed two-thirds of the virgin forest there.

justin - Santorum has never said he wants to give ALL federal lands back to the states. The vast majority of federal lands is NOT national parks, its BLM or National Forest property. Please show me where Santorum or any other GOP contender has said they want to give back the national parks.

Personally I think national parks are relatively safe from being "returned" over to the states. It's the land under the Forest Service and BLM that is in danger. FYI: Numerous states are closing or turning state park land over to concessionaires because there isn't money to manage or maintain them. What makes these Republican presidential candidates think it is in anyone's best interest to "give public lands back?" As the article suggests, the lands were "taken" so they could be saved from the abuses of the private sectors.

Question is, does the current President even know what Public Lands are? It's a shame we, as a people, elected him, over McCain in 2008. McCain had a pro environmental record, and *gasp* had actually backpacked in the wilderness....

We at have been discussing this on our forum at and Facebook at We are in a semi-state of shock that anyone would seriously consider giving away our national treasures. Shame on them.[/b]

Fred it would be shocking - but no one is seriously condsidering giving away our national treasures.

Anon @ 9:44 am,

I was referring to the quote above, which just says, "federal lands." Without a qualifying article or adjective, it's grammatically equivalent to "all." If Santorum wants to exclude existing national parks from being converted to state or private control, fine. But I'd be wary of someone who fervently advocates the sell-off, given the important relationship federal lands have to existing and potentially new or expanded parks, as covered in The Traveler's View.

The current president is in favor of industrial sized solar farms that would despoil huge tracts of the Mohave Desert laying waste to desert tortoise habitats, Native American sites and ruining the landscape generally. I'd like to see an article or editorial against that on this forum, just once.

Yes, a lot of it is merely the absurd campaign rhetoric of desperate power seekers, but you have to worry about the mindset behind such comments, and how the germs of their rhetoric would manifest if elected. Perhaps the national forests would not be returned to the states, but rather they only have widespread logging rights sold off. Perhaps the less "cost effective" national parks are foisted upon the state parks to manage. Or keep the parks "open", but slash the staff. Or remove all environmental regulations. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, to borrow a phrase.

I say, take them at their word. If they use truly obscene words, don't give them a chance to hold power.

I am, at this point, for taking the federal lands out of the hands of our Federal Government.
There, I said it. But, there is more to it. Let's see how many will take that statement and use it "out of context". I am trying to be an Independent when it comes to politics but, for this discussion, lets say I am a Republican. I have tried to be a conservationist throughout my life but, lets say for now that I am not. Curious as to why. Because, things are happening that force me to give up the way I would like to think, feel and vote ane many are going to assume those things about me anyway. Let me also add that I am a supporter of Free and Open Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. Don't want to hide anything and want everyone to know where I am coming from. So what in the heck is wrong with me and how could I feel this way?
A simple answer. I believe that much of our federal lands are already out of the hands of the Federal Government and IN the hands of a few extreme groups such as Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife and their Lawyers. They are running the show and I will be against anyone, republican or democrat that continues to let them do it. I will support changes to any of our federal agencies that continue to let these groups control them. I don't want to feel this way. I would rather be working with all of these people in a common goal to preserve our federal lands for the benefit and enjoyment of all, human and natural. But, that's not going to happen. It could, but it won't. At least, not until something changes in the attitude of certain groups that believe that federal lands should be for the benefit of the birds and animals and yes, for the people.but only the people that believe exactly as they do and live their life exactly as they do.
I could be wrong. Doesn't matter, no one will take me seriously anyway, I'm just one of those people that don't know anything about anything. But, hear me when I say " You could have had me on your side if you had just treated me like I mattered". A few like me just might make a difference. Could just possibly help insure, not only the survival of the National Park System, but a brighter future for it as well. But, you do not need us, of that we are sure. I do hope our Park System endures, who wouldn't. But please understand, I have to fight for what I think is right and at times that requires that I choose sides as issues divide. Is that what is best for the Country, probably not. But that is the position I believe I have been forced into. Who is responsible? We all are. Who could fix it? We all could. (Just think if we all were to work together) Will we? I doubt it. A few Men and women in public offices are not going to save the National Park System. They have never saved anything. It takes the American People. It takes all of them working together. I believe we will see. Good or Bad.
I believe You and I have graciously failed to come together on our points of view, and I understand that. I do enjoy some of your articles and would probably enjoy them all if and when I don't feel like I have to climb into my foxhole while logging on.
Best to you,
Ron (obxguys)

Justin - it is gramaticaly equivalent to "all". Thats what the author wanted you to believe but it bears no resemblence to the candidates actual beliefs or positions - except for maybe Ron Paul - but then, he is really a Libertarian, not a Republcan.

Rick B. - You might not have noticed but the US Government already sells off timbering and mineral rights in National Forest. In fact, in my discussions with National Forest representatives they have stated that their primary objective is maximizing the potential for timbering. I see no evidence that the States have been less responsible than the Feds in forest management - in fact, since it is in the regulator's back yards, they probably are more responsible.

@Justin Let's see, if we're truly talking about "all" federal land, wouldn't that include a whole bunch of stuff besides national parks? Like all military bases, national labs, testing grounds and federal goverment owned offices throughout the country, including the capitol and the White House? Can anyone really believe any of these candidates really want to turn over "all" federal land? Not to mention that the quotes above are taken out of context.

"Can anyone really believe any of these candidates really want to turn over 'all' federal land?"

I should hope not.

At the moment, the annual insanity of Utah's legislature (commonly referred to as the "loonislature" by many of us) is in full roar. Here are some quotes from an article in the Salt Lake Tribune:
Bill would let Utah cities, counties claim federal land

Cities and towns could use eminent domain
power to confiscate federal land in the state, part of a package of
bills aimed at instigating a court battle seeking state control over
tens of millions of acres in Utah.

Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, argued that
environmentalists are closing down federal lands and federal agents are
arresting people on roads through federal land.

“I for one am not going to put up with it
anymore,” said Noel. “If you care about education, if you care about
being a sovereign state, stand up and do the right thing.”

Rep. Ken Sumsion, R-American Fork, who is
running for governor, said the bill could generate trillions of dollars
for Utah’s economy and help Utah’s schools, which receive less per
student than any other state.

The bill passed the House 57-14 and moves to the Senate for consideration.

It continues:

But Rep. Chris Herrod, R-Provo, said in a
recent interview that the governor and attorney general opted to go to
court to try to claim ownership of federal lands instead, and questioned
Gov. Gary Herbert’s commitment to confronting the federal government.

Sumsion’s eminent domain bill is one of
several bills moving through the Legislature that seeks to seize control
of federal lands.

And finally:

Other bills are giving Congress a deadline to
relinquish control of federal land within the state’s borders and
setting the stage for a court battle if Congress fails to do so.

The legislation would give the state the
authority to allow drilling, mining, grazing and timber cutting inside
National Parks before they are returned to the federal government.

You may read the whole thing at:

@ Lee - I didn't see that last paragraph in the article you cited. Could you provide the source where that came from, or better yet, identify the actual bill so we can read the actual language.

I just sent the following email to Tribune writer Robert Gehrke. When I get a reply I'll post it here:

It appears that your article "Bill would let Utah cities,
counties claim federal lands" has been modified overnight. This
morning the final paragraphs read:

Sumsion’s eminent-domain bill is one of
several bills moving through the Legislature that seeks to seize control
of federal lands.

Other bills are giving Congress a deadline to
relinquish control of federal land within the state’s borders and
setting the stage for a court battle if Congress fails to do so.

Yesterday it read:

Other bills are giving Congress a deadline to

relinquish control of federal land within the state’s borders and

setting the stage for a court battle if Congress fails to do so.

The legislation would give the state the

authority to allow drilling, mining, grazing and timber cutting inside

National Parks before they are returned to the federal government.

Will you explain the difference for me?

Here is Robert Gehrke's reply:

Robert Gehrke 9:02 AM (13 minutes ago)to me I
assume the graf got cut from the print edition and they replaced the
online edition with the print version ... which isn't really supposed to
The bill hasn't changed. It sill gives the state the authority over mining, grazing, etc.

Robert Gehrke
The Salt Lake Tribune
(o) 801.257.8730
(c) 801.707.9929
Twitter: @RobertGehrke

His phone numbers are there. Call and ask if you don't understand his reply.

I would still like to know the name and number of the bill to see what it actually says as opposed to what you or Gehrke say it says.

"The legislation would give the state the

authority to allow drilling, mining, grazing and timber cutting inside

National Parks before they are returned to the federal government."

OK - its House Bill 148. And while technically the above statement is true it would be equally true to say:

"the US Government has the authority to allow drilling, mining, grazing and timber cutting inside National Parks"

The fact is the bill is not calling for those activities in National Parks. The bill calls for the establishment of a Commission that would determine what activities would be permitted when and where across all acquired lands - whether National Parks, BLM or national forests (the bill exempts Wilderness areas from acquisition).

I guess all I can add is anytime local government or states have control it'sjust to easy for politics to get in the way of sound judgement.Our state of Florida has just about been turned into one big parking lot because of so called property rights and local politics. You simply can not count on local government to protect anything. The local 'good old boys" will have there way one way or the other. They get either themselves of their cronies in place to do their bidding. It also happenes on the federal level but to a much lesser degree. If some had there way development would go right up to our Nat. Park boundries turning them into little sad oasis's-- I am against that. As bad as some federal management is ,local control would be much worse. Teton Nat park would not exist or certainly look a lot different if local "property rights" polititicians would have had there way. I've always voted Republican and consider myself conservative but our choice in this election is pretty poor in my opinion. I don't care for the Democratic choice either. Hard to believe these men are all we have to choose between.

Dick, perhaps it's because sensible men and women know they don't have a chance against extremists.

I'm sorry Dick G. but I think you'd might be surprised if you'd look what others would like you to belive about the Tea Party. Things have gotten so far past the political rhetoric. There's a reality out there and it's not looking very good. Many, including myself, would like to leave the Parks as a legacy but would also like to leave our kids without overwhelming debt, loss of individual freedoms and a world that is coming apart because we are no longer a symbol of hope and an enemy of tyrany. Just saying...

For those who wanted to see the text of the bill, here's the link:

Just to clarify, I specifically remember Newt Gingrich proclaiming that, if he were president, he would "liberate" Alaskas national parks to drilling at one of the earlier debates.He was probably mistaking the NPs with AWNR but his words still carry a lot of weight

Here's more about the Utah land grab from this morning's Tribune:

"By large margins, the House passed a package of bills Wednesday demanding the federal government surrender more than 30 million acres of land within Utah’s borders or go to court to force the transfer.

"This is our time to write the history of what will happen in our state.… This is our time to look not to the next election, but to the next generation," said Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan." (Legislator Ken ivory is one of Utah's largest developers and home builders.)

"The four bills — HJR3, HCR1, HB148 and HB91 — passed the House by large margins and move to the Senate for consideration."

"Legislative attorneys have warned that there is a high probability that the state’s efforts are unconstitutional. But Republican legislators, frustrated with the federal government, were undaunted.

"I suspect it will take the Supreme Court less time to throw this out than it takes us to debate it tonight," said Rep. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, "but I’m going to enthusiastically support it because we have to keep trying."

The bills would eliminate the 1.7 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and most wilderness areas."

And finally, this gem:

"National Parks would be returned to the federal government, but the state could first set conditions allowing oil and gas drilling, mining, grazing, logging and travel on the land.

It would not touch on American Indian lands or military installations."

Looks like a response in kind to me. No different than what has happened with the Enviro industry on the flip side of the coin. When have the Enviro's ever considered jobs except for those in the service industy or park rangers (and their own). Tired of the BS and the country losing.

Well, Flip, how about this link to an editorial in the SL Tribune this morning:

And can you explain exactly HOW the country is "losing" anything?

Lee Dalton: With all due respect "losing" is all around us but part of the beauty of the wild places it gives escape and restoration to those that are lucky enough. Would like a law to be enacted requiring all those in the three branches of government to spend a month deep in the wilds for the humbling they/we all need. Martha's Vineyard does not come to mind.

"National Parks would be returned to the
federal government, but the state could first set conditions allowing
oil and gas drilling, mining, grazing, logging and travel on the land.
Lee - you may view this as a "gem" but it is absolutely false. Everyone, please go read the bill and don't rely on these slanted paraphrases.

Flip, sorry, I may have misinterpreted what you meant.

And Anonymous @9:47, this is clipped directly from the text of the bill:
(d) making a determination of or a process for determining interests, rights, or uses

111 related to:

112 (i) easements;

113 (ii) geothermal resources;

114 (iii) grazing;

115 (iv) mining;

116 (v) recreation;

117 (vi) rights of entry;

118 (vii) special uses;

119 (viii) timber;

120 (ix) water; or

121 (x) other natural resources or other resources;

122 (e) to establish the conditions under which the state shall cede a national park to the

123 United States, which may include:

124 (i) any circumstances under which a national park shall revert to the state;

125 (ii) the retention of interests, rights, or uses described in Subsection (1)(d); and

126 (iii) whether the state should retain any power to:

127 (A) impose a tax, fee, or charge on activities conducted within a national park; or

128 (B) serve civil or criminal process on a person who is within the boundaries of a

129 national park;

And Anonymous @9:47, this is clipped directly from the text of the bill:

(d) making a determination of or a process for determining interests, rights, or uses
Yes, thats what it says. That applies to all lands, not National Parks specficially and the bill only sets up a process to make a determination. It is creating a Committe that will make those determinations. The determinination may be that those activities aren't allowed. So in fact the bill is not setting the conditions that will allow anything - but phrasing it that way serves the scare tactic purposes that its author and you would like.
Further, the Bill allows for the return of a National Park to the feds but best I can tell does not require it as the original quote suggested.

How about identifying yourself, Anon? Your post is more than a bit amibiguous. Who are you referring to in your line about scare tactics? Who do you mean by "its author?" Remember, too, that this bill is only one small part of a package of resolutions and bills currenty twisting their way through Utah's loonislature.

" Who do you mean by "its author?""
The author of the article you quoted.

So how is reporting facts "scare tactics?" Do you live in Utah? If you did, you'd be familiar with the loonacy of our legislature.

"So how is reporting facts "scare tactics?"
I've already shown you that the statement wasn't factual. So yes, misrepresenting what the bill says was in my opinion, scare tactics.

You haven't shown anyone anything but your opinion. Exactly how is the statement not factual when the text of the bill is right there to read? Again, do you live in Utah? If not, where?

Thanks to all the commenters who have taken the time to give support to their arguments; while some of us here might wish to vilify "the other side", it is important to never shut down debate. In the end, we are stronger for it, and can help save our lands instead of trying to save our political agendas, left or right.
That said, take a look at much of the map over in Appalachian territory. While there are some federal lands there, notably in the forest system, they are nowhere near as extensive as out west. The Sierra Nevada, for example, is largely under state and federal protection and/or management. In contrast, much of West Virginia has been shaved in the ongoing process of mountain top removal. Our hearts ache when we see scenery disappear, but our throats suffer far worse, as the local water table is polluted and entire masses of earth and soil are washed away. If given the chance, mining operations would throw themselves on newly "liberated" lands in the far more arid west, where the impact on the watersheds would not only be far more noticeable, but also have disasterous consequences for a vast region already struggling with water management crises.

Thanks, Brent. But beware, it sounds like some folks will think what you've written a just more "scare tactics."

" Exactly how is the statement not factual when the text of the bill is right there to read?"
Lee - the quote says : ""National Parks would be returned to the

federal government, but the state could first set conditions allowing

oil and gas drilling, mining, grazing, logging and travel on the land."
The bill doesn't "allow" anything. It sets up a Commission to decide what the rules should be and that Commission will propose additional legislation to implement those rules. Those proposals might allow grazing, drilling, timbering etc activities but they also might prevent them. Either way addional legistation would be required. Nothing will be allowed by this bill.
But instead of quoting that part of the the bill that discusses the Commission and the required additional legislation, you cut it out - again in my opinion, to mislead.

I'd love to see an end to anonymous posting, but at the same time I realize that many substantive contributions to this site are made by NPS employees who need the shield of anonymity. I was impressed recently when our friend ecbuck, when called on anonymity, publicly posted a link to his own site. Reading there has helped me understand his postings.

All that said, allow me to mention my personal opinionated opinion that there are some truly cowardly folks hiding behind anonymity, along with some fine upstanding folks using it as well. I'll leave it to individual souls and conciences to sort out who is who, and of course I address this to no one individual poster or discussion thread.

OK folks, I think we've beaten the Utah Legislature and its intent to death here. Any interest in bridges in Minnesota?