Dose of Dopeness: (Not) Privatizing Public Lands


adjective (informal)

– very good, cool, awesome

As usual, the debate over whether or not to transfer public lands to private ownership, like National Parks and Forests, is still up in the air.  That’s not dope.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s a terrible idea.  Why?  You can say whatever you want about the issues associated with the federal government and funding and the current lack of resources for our public lands.  It’s all true.  You can hypothesize that privatizing lands can generate more revenue for the land.  Owners and CEOs could use advertising and typical business tactics to generate income in ways the government typically does not, which can then be put towards conservation and maintenance.  That might be true.

But I’m here to tell you there’s something to be said for restraint.  Yes, the federal government has a hard time doing things like upgrading facilities because of budget constraints.  But there is also an element of restraint that is being expressed.  Part of what makes public lands so attractive is that there is minimal infrastructure.  People enter public lands to get away from the “hoopla,” not to experience more of it.  They go to experience “nature,” for lack of a better way of putting it.  Public lands are places where we can get away from noise and light pollution, and sometimes (yes, only sometimes) crowds.  The government helps keep it that way.  There’s plenty of hoopla to be found at Six Flags, Disney World, and Las Vegas.  As far as I’m concerned, we don’t need to have that kind of attitude and development in lands dedicated for conservation, habitat protection, outdoor recreation, and research.  Business men and women are great at what they do, and I’m sure they could grow the hell out of a company.  But let’s leave it out of our public lands.  I fundamentally believe privatizing lands would destroy the very essence of these places, even if done so with the best intentions.  Public lands are owned by the people, for the people, not for profit and the purpose of increasing wealth.  No matter what, in the context of our capitalistic society, privatizing is a sure path to ever increasing man made infrastructure and commercialization, and disregard for natural resources.  These places are protected for their inherent value.  In some ways, trees that are left standing are more valuable than those cut for lumber (i.e. carbon dioxide sequestration and organism habitat).  In some ways, peace and quiet is a more valuable experience than riding on a roller coaster (i.e. mental relaxation and rejuvenation, and undisturbed wildlife).  In some ways, land and soil are more valuable than just a stable surface upon which to build (i.e. water filtration and organism habitat).

This is clearly a frustrating topic for me.  So what’s dope about it?  First, this article by the author of the website Semi-Rad who simply calls himself “Brendan”:  A Delicate Arch Roller Coaster And Other Fun Federal Land Transfer Ideas.  He explains, in short, the ideas being proposed.  Then, he offers visually stimulating, low-quality satirical renderings of what said public land would or could look like if privatized.  They are absolutely, hilariously bad…which is what makes them so good.  For example:

(continue reading below)


There are more of these artistic masterpieces in his article, so click the link above (NOOO, NOT A TRUMP TOWER AT THE EDGE OF GRAND CANYON!).  Second, but more importantly, you can be a part of the dopeness.  Click this link to learn more about the issue and sign the petition against federal land transfer to private hands.  You can also learn more here.

Be dope.  Sign the petition.  This article is just a dose, a simplified look at the issue.  I encourage you to research and read up about privatizing our federal and state owned lands.  Hashtag until you can’t hashtag anymore:  #ProtectPublicLands.  Do your part in helping to protect our public lands in America from gross commercialization.  Get outside and enjoy!  And thanks Brendan.


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