America's Public Lands: From Yellowstone to Smokey Bear and by Randall K. Wilson

By Randall K. Wilson

How is it that the United States—the state that cherishes the perfect of non-public estate greater than the other within the world—has selected to put aside approximately one-third of its territory as public lands? contemplating this interesting query, Randall okay. Wilson strains the often-forgotten principles of nature that experience formed the evolution of America’s public land approach. the result's a clean and probing account of the main urgent coverage and administration demanding situations dealing with nationwide parks, forests, rangelands, and natural world refuges today.

The writer explores the dramatic tale of the origins of the general public area, together with the century-long push towards privatization and the following emergence of a countrywide conservation perfect. Arguing that we won't absolutely comprehend one form of public land with out figuring out its relation to the remainder of the approach, he offers in-depth debts of the differing kinds of public lands. together with chapters on nationwide parks, nationwide forests, flora and fauna refuges, Bureau of Land administration lands, and desolate tract parts, Wilson examines key turning issues and significant coverage debates for every land kind. He considers questions of bison and elk administration and up to date disputes over hearth coverage, roadless parts, mining claims, and grazing charges. This complete assessment bargains an opportunity to reconsider our courting with America’s public lands, together with what it says in regards to the method we relate to, and cost, nature within the United States.

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Additional info for America's Public Lands: From Yellowstone to Smokey Bear and Beyond

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15 The 1872 General Mining Law combined these two laws and is still in effect today. S. government on the minerals extracted. Though the law was intended for individual miners, the main beneficiaries tended to be large mining companies, both foreign and domestic. Once the more easily accessible surface minerals were depleted, only large-scale enterprises could afford the machinery and additional infrastructure needed for extracting and processing mineral deposits located at greater depths. Perhaps the most far-reaching element of the General Mining Law was the “patent” clause.

1. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Public Lands Statistics 2011, vol. 196 (Washington, DC: GPO, 2012). were granted directly to the railroad companies (with another thirtyseven million acres granted to them via the states). 7 million acres more. The overwhelming “success” of these programs lay in the numerous and diverse means they provided for land to be sold below market value, as well as the ample opportunities they offered for speculation and fraud due to lax enforcement.

Accordingly, the 160-acre allotments in the Homestead Act were premised on the average farm size east of the Mississippi River, where soil and climatic conditions allowed them to prosper. But whereas 160 acres constituted a viable farming operation in Pennsylvania or Ohio, it did not suffice in the arid conditions of western Kansas or Arizona. As the number of failed homesteads began to soar, it became clear that a new perspective was desperately needed. LOGGING, RANCHING, AND MINING By the mid to late 1800s, with much of the best agricultural land already taken, growing numbers of homesteaders found themselves forced to stake claims on increasingly marginal plots.

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