A new coalition aimed at reawakening the public lands movement August 2007


For some time, the Western Lands Project and a few of our close colleagues have been working to create a new, informal coalition we are calling Voices for Public Lands. Formed in response to the seemingly relentless assault on public lands--from outright sell-offs to severely compromised "wilderness" proposals that actually undermine the Wilderness Act-- the nucleus of this coalition is a set of Principles that we believe should guide actions on the public lands all of us hold in common.

Historically, Americans have demonstrated strong support for public lands. Concern over forests led to designation of the National Forests; recognition of the vast public lands of the desert West contributed to passage of the Federal Land Policy & Management Act and the closure of the frontier; the Reagan-Watt scheme of the 1980s to sell off vast swaths of public land met with intense public opposition.

Voices for Public Lands will present a unified message in defense of public lands to the media, the public, and policymakers. Any group that signs on to the Principles for Public Lands can be part of this coalition. If you work for or belong to an organization that may be interested in joining us, please take a look at the Principles and other information on the (bare-bones) VPL website; pass this information on to friends and colleagues; let us know what you think.

".....A disturbing trend is afoot to privatize our public lands outright or, more insidiously, to commodify and sell their unique values and benefits to a public increasingly viewed as customers rather than citizens. These trends threaten the very ideas of public space, shared values, democratic principles, and a public commons......." {From the Preamble to a Declaration of Principles for Public Lands}

Thanks, members and supporters, for your interest in these issues.


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