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Al Agnew

Read it and weep

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By the way, when the stated intent of a segment of the Republican delegation to Congress is to turn over at least some federal lands to the states and private entities, and when the first thing the Republican-dominated Congress does is put in a rule change that allows them to do so more easily, then I don't think that's being alarmist.

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As with all things, its a money issue I am guessing.  Land owned by the Federal Government within the state is a money losing proposition.

If the state owned the ONSR lands, the fees collected by the area would go to their coffers.  Alot of money goes to DC that does not stay here.  And, if they don't market the land properly, it does not draw tourism dollars that also fill coffers with sales tax money and jobs producing income tax.

Of course, there is the control issue.  They have no control over what the Feds do with the land inside their borders.  They may have a voice, but no real control.  It seems like all are assuming that the Federal Government is the good guy and the State Government is the bad guy in this issue.  I would rather trust my local government which is more vested in my voice than the bunch of clowns in DC. 

For the most part, State Public Land in MO is far better managed than the Federal Lands.  I have seen more Federal Land and access go away or be sold in my short 50+ years.  Most of the Clark National Forest is in private or state hands now.  Many Federal Places have struggled or run down.  Facilities have been tore down in places where I used to camp and fish or closed all together.  River accesses closed.  Boat ramps gone.  Lakes drained.  Acres of Federal Land have been sold to private owners in the Lead Belt area.

State facilities have improved and increased.  We have more State Parks with improvements.  There are more MDC lands than there were when I was young.  That is the result of State Government.

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Yep, more Federal land will be sold to private owners and more river accesses, boat ramps, campgrounds, etc. closed to the public.  This will all result in fewer places for the public to hunt and fish, unless you're rich and can buy an area for yourself or pay a lease or join a club.  Plus a lot of this habitat will be destroyed and converted to other land uses that "make more money".  The Missouri legislature has been wanting to do away with MDC's sales tax for years and I'm sure they will try again with the new governor.  And, all this as our state population grows putting more pressure on the remaining public areas and habitat.  The "good old days" are a thing of the past!        

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2 hours ago, jdmidwest said:

As with all things, its a money issue I am guessing.  Land owned by the Federal Government within the state is a money losing proposition.

If the state owned the ONSR lands, the fees collected by the area would go to their coffers.  Alot of money goes to DC that does not stay here.  And, if they don't market the land properly, it does not draw tourism dollars that also fill coffers with sales tax money and jobs producing income tax.

Of course, there is the control issue.  They have no control over what the Feds do with the land inside their borders.  They may have a voice, but no real control.  It seems like all are assuming that the Federal Government is the good guy and the State Government is the bad guy in this issue.  I would rather trust my local government which is more vested in my voice than the bunch of clowns in DC. 

For the most part, State Public Land in MO is far better managed than the Federal Lands.  I have seen more Federal Land and access go away or be sold in my short 50+ years.  Most of the Clark National Forest is in private or state hands now.  Many Federal Places have struggled or run down.  Facilities have been tore down in places where I used to camp and fish or closed all together.  River accesses closed.  Boat ramps gone.  Lakes drained.  Acres of Federal Land have been sold to private owners in the Lead Belt area.

State facilities have improved and increased.  We have more State Parks with improvements.  There are more MDC lands than there were when I was young.  That is the result of State Government.

Not sure federal land within a state is a money-losing proposition much of the time.  Yes, the state doesn't get property taxes off that land, but they get a lot of money coming in from people using it, especially in the West where a lot of the users are from out of state.  And those states do their own marketing of the federal lands.

As for trusting your local government more, that depends.  Local governments are MORE likely to be influenced by wealthy landowners within their borders.  Big fish in small pond type of thing.  Somebody with a lot of money can have a lot more say-so with the local government than with the federal government.  Your voice is one vote and so is theirs, but the local politicians are more likely to listen to somebody who throws money at their campaigns, or employs a whole bunch of people in their district.

And while things might be okay in Missouri with MDC and DNR taking good care of their lands, Missouri is kind of an outlier, thanks to the sales tax money.  Most states don't have a lot of extra funding to take good care of a bunch more land.  Many do well with what they have, but if they suddenly get a bunch more land from the feds, without any extra money to take care of it, the land either gets ignored, or more likely in many states, sold to the highest bidder.

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While you are correct that he federal does not pay tax on land it owns within a state it is not a write off.  The federal government pay a PILT, Payment in Lieu of Taxes.  You can look it up on a website easily, believe it breaks it down by county within a state.  Also when the Feds run and area it is not run to make a profit, if that were the case many more areas would be closed, although the noose is tightening down on how unprofitable it can be.  Simply put a private concern or even the States will want to run it at a profit or in the case of the state at least break even.  One of my concerns with the new National Parks and  reserves designated uner President Obama, how will the extra expense be covered?  I don't expect the NPS getting extra funding and they have a huge backlog of items that need repaired or replaced.  The biggest problem on the financing end is how the federal government budgets but that is too lengthy on a dying phone!

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16 hours ago, jdmidwest said:

As with all things, its a money issue I am guessing.  Land owned by the Federal Government within the state is a money losing proposition.

If the state owned the ONSR lands, the fees collected by the area would go to their coffers.  Alot of money goes to DC that does not stay here.  And, if they don't market the land properly, it does not draw tourism dollars that also fill coffers with sales tax money and jobs producing income tax.

Of course, there is the control issue.  They have no control over what the Feds do with the land inside their borders.  They may have a voice, but no real control.  It seems like all are assuming that the Federal Government is the good guy and the State Government is the bad guy in this issue.  I would rather trust my local government which is more vested in my voice than the bunch of clowns in DC. 

For the most part, State Public Land in MO is far better managed than the Federal Lands.  I have seen more Federal Land and access go away or be sold in my short 50+ years.  Most of the Clark National Forest is in private or state hands now.  Many Federal Places have struggled or run down.  Facilities have been tore down in places where I used to camp and fish or closed all together.  River accesses closed.  Boat ramps gone.  Lakes drained.  Acres of Federal Land have been sold to private owners in the Lead Belt area.

State facilities have improved and increased.  We have more State Parks with improvements.  There are more MDC lands than there were when I was young.  That is the result of State Government.

First of all, I promise this will be my last long-winded post for awhile. I'm boring myself. This is just an issue that I'm pretty passionate about, for a number of reasons, and I hope that comes through. 

If this was a state issue, small in scope, and specifically designed to transfer land from the USFS to the MDC, I am not sure that it would be a big deal to me. There is a pretty strong consensus that the MDC does a good job managing the lands that it owns, and if every agency (state or federal) had the same standards of quality we would probably be in better shape. That, however is very much not what this is. 

 This action by congress not only makes it easier to transfer federal land to states, but also to ultimately privatize it. Even if you don't care about the public access issue, almost all federally owned land is managed in such a way that while resources may certainly be used, they are used in a more or less sustainable way, and a way that is at least somewhat consistent with the target ecological conditions in the given region. Once it is in private hands all ability to dictate that goes away. I've said it before but you are opening up destructive mining techniques, terrible timber harvesting practices (which directly affects water quality and fish populations) uncontrolled grazing, and removes any protection of sensitive ecological or cultural features (wetlands, fens, caves, historic sites, etc) that can be easily ruined even by well-intentioned actions of landowners.

But of course, we do care about public access. All of us on here are fisherman, I'd presume most of us hunt, too. I don't know about you, but I do a ton of that on Mark Twain National Forest, and this in a state with a comparatively VERY low percentage of federal land in contrast to western states. Removing federal land in Colorado or Wyoming or Montana means you are removing the very lifeblood of all hunters that are not wealthy enough to pay exorbitant trespass or lease fees. State land in those places is sparse and often tightly regulated in terms of hunting, compared to federal counterparts.

Then you have the impact on hikers and other recreational activities. If you start picking away at Mark Twain, how well do you think the Ozark Trail is gonna work out? Think a bunch of private landowners in the Ozarks want a bunch of "greasy-haired college kids" as I'm sure they'd term them, hiking across their land? I'm wagering that's a no.

And finally, let's say that the land is actually transferred to the MDC or the DNR or whatever. Sure, with relatively limited total acreage both do a fine job. Double or triple that and you can't even maintain access roads, let alone manage fish, timber, and wildlife resources. You are going to end up with either poorly managed or entirely unmanaged (and unenforced) land that is going to look like crap and not produce anywhere near the recreational opportunities we see on actively managed USFS land.

In short, any large-scale implementation of this action has potential to be an abject disaster for you and me. That isn't being alarmest and it has nothing to do with my feelings on the party in power. It's just the reality for someone who likes to hunt and fish and hike, and needs a place to do it. 

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