Beyond Oregon: The Long View On The Conflict In The West Over Federal Lands

January 12, 2016
Photo: Federal Land map (GOV'T)(U.S. Geological Survey)
This map shows that western states have much higher percentages of federal lands than eastern states. 

It's been more than a week since an armed group led by rancher Ammon Bundy occupied a public wildlife refuge in Oregon. The refuge, which is home to hundreds of bird species, including snow buntings and warblers, remains closed and watched by federal authorities on Tuesday. The standoff there represents a flashpoint in a decades-long conflict over control of federal lands.

That theme has come up in state legislatures, including last year in Colorado, where two Republican lawmakers failed in efforts to create a commission to study the idea of transferring control of some federal land to state authorities. On Monday, a Colorado College State of the Rockies Project poll found that 58 percent of voters in seven western states, including Colorado, oppose turning federal lands over to local governments.

An expert in land management, Boise State University professor of public policy John Freemuth, spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.