Today, the House Natural Resources Committee is considering the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, sponsored by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Christopher Shays (R-CT). It would designate nearly 7 million acres of federal lands in Montana as Wilderness, along with some 17 million acres more in four other states. Yet Montana already has 3.5 million acres of Wilderness, or 4 percent of the land. That’s a 200 percent increase. In 1988 Reagan wisely vetoed a 1.4 million acre Wilderness addition in Montana because it was excessive. This proposal would become the single largest lock-up of land in over a quarter century, locking the American people out of the land they all supposedly own.
The legislation’s sponsors—essentially carpetbaggers from the east coast—want to deprive people who live out west from using resources on this land. Leaving these forests unmanaged will mean yet more disease, insects, and unfightable wild fires. Apparently, the eastern liberals want to make the “public” lands the exclusive playground of only the wealthiest Americans. The sponsors appear to be “geographically challenged” as well. The Northern Rockies in their bill include not just Montana, Idaho and Wyoming — but also Oregon and Washington. Why not Hawaii?
Moreover, the bill not only creates 24 million additional acres of Wilderness, but includes still more Wild & Scenic Rivers and Wildlife Corridors to help Grizzly Bears, Mountain Lions, Canada Lynx, Gray Wolf, etc., find their way to your backyard, if you live out West. Since the public and rural Americans have figured out precisely what Wildlife Corridors are and the harm they will do, the Greens and the Committee are now calling them “Biological Connecting Corridors.”
For the curious, the total acreage of Wilderness Areas (which are only a portion of the land the Feds own) in the US has now reached 107,436,608 acres — and counting. THAT IS LARGER THAN THE ENTIRE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.