Public Lands

A large portion of the assault on Rural America comes from government agencies dictating the land management policies of Public Lands.

For most of the 20th century, those policies were guided by the principles established by Gifford Pinchot, the nation’s first Chief of the United States Forest Service. A conservationist who believed in the sustainable and renewed use of forests, Pinchot felt this could be achieved with multi-use public land policies, serving both recreational and economic purposes. It became government policy to encourage and support the development of communities and industries built around commercial uses of public lands.

  1. “Pinchot saw conservation as a means of managing the nation’s natural resources for long-term sustainable commercial use. As a professional forester, his view was that ‘forestry is tree farming,’ without destroying the long-term viability of the forests.”

  2. “He called it ‘the art of producing from the forest whatever it can yield for the service of man.’” ― source: Wikipedia

Today, a large portion of the people, communities, jobs, and economies in Rural America depend on the use of public lands for ranching, farming, forestry, mining, fishing, energy, and other industries that create jobs and support our national interests. Indeed, with over 65% of the Rocky Mountain States so-classified, a huge portion of our national resources are tied up in public lands.

Extremist environmentalism, both public and private, are hell bent on “destroying” the lives, communities, jobs, and the very industries that built this country under the deceptive description of “restoration,” meaning removal of humans from these lands.

A key question to consider then is: Who controls public lands?

This is a question that has been studied by Sheriff Gil Gilbertson of Josephine County, Oregon. A veteran with some 36 years of distinguished law enforcement service, he is a strong defender of Constitutional and lawful government, including States’ Rights. Also read the page on Jurisdiction.


The map below highlights the importance of this issue. Shown in red, some 65% or more of the Rocky Mountain States is considered “federal land,” whatever that means. That is a huge portion of our nation, especially considering the Constitution grants the federal government control only over a 10 square mile area known as the District of Columbia. The percentage also stands in sharp contrast to the much smaller percentages for the states east of the Rocky Mountains.

How did this come to pass? The next map provides some useful clues. It shows the years of admission to statehood, with the years for the Rocky Mountain States enlarged.

As shown, the great federal land grabs began in 1850 with the admission of California, only months after gold was discovered there. Oregon followed in 1859, possibly with the belief it would be the next golden state. Nevada followed in 1864 in the midst of the Civil War, following discovery of the Comstock Silver Lode. The land grabs continued with all of the Rocky Mountain States: Colorado in 1876, Washington and Montana in 1889, Wyoming in 1890, Utah in 1896, Arizona and New Mexico in 1912, and Alaska in 1959.

Similar land grabs were not made in States east of the Rockies, even those admitted after 1850. For example, Kansas was admitted in 1861, Nebraska in 1867, North and South Dakota in 1889, and Oklahoma in 1907, yet the portions considered “federal land” are only 1.2%, 1.4%, 2.7%. 6.2%, and 3.6% respectively – nowhere near 65%.

One could reasonably conclude powerful interests located in the Northeast, which had gained control of the nation as a result of the Civil War, sought control over the wealth of resources being discovered in the West.

In this regard, it is interesting to note another fact. As the country grew West, the states grew ever larger. Was this the result of larger territories? Or the result of a desire to give up as few Senate seats as possible? A disproportionate numbers of Senate seats are held by the 11 states located north of Washington, D.C. (outlined in the map). They constitute only 5-10% of the nation, but hold 22% of the Senate seats: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, and Delaware.

Learn More


  1. Statehood: The Territorial Imperative, by Bill Howell and Bill Redd

  2. Statehood: The Territorial Imperative is a meticulous inquiry into the origins of the American states, the federal territorial land system and the relationship between the two. The text relies upon commentary of the Framers, other contemporaneous commentary and Supreme Court decisions and decisional dicta to derive its conclusions. The conclusions arrived at pose a forceful and provocative challenge to conventional thinking about the federal trust respecting public lands as it is understood and applied in the 21st century.”

  3. The Bureau of Land Management’s Vision for Treasured Landscapes in the 21st Century

  4. According to this internal document―obtained by Congressman Bishop (UT), Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Forests and Public Lands―the BLM manages 264 million acres of land, roughly equivalent in size to 18 states combined: Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maryland, West Virginia, South Carolina, Maine, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

  5. Of this amount, the BLM intends to treat 130-140 million acres as treasured lands. Part of what this means is “the BLM intends to: (1) finalize appropriate conservation designations and fully account for the ecosystem-services values of its lands; (2) rationalize and consolidate its fragmented landholdings, and (3) commit to planning and allocating resources and resource uses at their natural scales, in effective coordination with other Federal, Sate, and Tribal governments.”

  6. Item (3) means that the BLM will bypass our elected and Constitutional government structure consisting of cities, counties, and states in favor of regional organizations with government-type powers but without the elections, checks and balances, or transparency. Furthermore, number (3) specifically excludes local communities, cities, and counties from participation. Centralized, regional planning groups are the trademark of Communist countries, the word “soviet” meaning a governing council.

  1. Sheriff Gill Gilbertson

  2. Read Sheriff Gilbertson’s ...

  3. Analysis of this topic (excellent)

  4. May 5, 2011 letter to Wild Rivers Ranger District

  5. Hear Sheriff Gilbertson discuss these issues ...

  6. With Kirk MacKenzie

  7. Dec 29, 2011 Jurisdiction of Public Lands

Defend Rural America, The Constitutional County, Constitutional County, and
Constitutional Counties are trademarks of Kirk F. MacKenzie.

Kirk MacKenzie


Defend Rural AmericaTM


Skype: kirkmack1




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