“YOUR PUBLIC LANDS WISH LIST”
SEASON 2, WEEK 8
November 1, 2018
Join us on Twitter with the hashtag #NatureWritingChallenge to discuss and share the topic Thursday at 8:30 CST. This post was created in one hour specifically for this challenge.
Public lands are funded by the people which is why we all are entitled to enjoy them. Funded by the people is a broad concept but really just means taxes, private donations, and fees come together to pay the bills.
I’m going to address the things I’d love to see in public lands but may not make sense to everyone or may not be financially feasible.
I’d like to see all of our public lands managed in a more efficient manner. I envision one agency, under the Department of Interior, with various branches. Have a branch for the National Parks & Monuments, have a branch for the grazing lands, and have a branch for the forests. I know don’t know enough about it all, but I just imagine a more harmonious and streamlined management of all the lands we know and love. With streamlined management could come a streamlined leadership and staff. Not a reduction in number, but people all on the same team able to work together even easier.
Simply put, we need to have our public lands made a priority and a budget fulfilled to address all of the back and future maintenance necessary for modern crowds. We need to pay our park rangers, park workers, and all people who manage/work the lands a fair wage. We need to invest in science and research and fully fund studies involving our public lands.
Public lands are becoming popular, and really have always been popular. When I was at Mount Rainier a couple of weekends ago I was reading about the first car that came into the park and how modern cars flooded in and it was chaos. So many parks are overrun by the visitors that parking lots are full early on in the morning. Shuttles have popped up at a few locations, and seem to be alright, but more could be done.
More shuttles at more parks, more transportation from major (or nearby) cities with direct routes to public lands. More options for people that may have few options to get out to public lands. More urban public lands would be a great way to introduce even more people to how great they are and what they have to offer. More people that respect and know them means more future stewards.
Public lands need funding but they also need specific funding to be more ADA friendly. While it’s clear not every location can be accessed by everyone, many main places can be modified to allow more people of all abilities to see some of the best vistas on our public lands.
My wish list focuses on inclusion, funding, and streamlining. There are endless other needs, but these are the stepping stones for so much more. With more funding and more accessibility, more education can happen and people can become more aware of how important these places are to our nation and the tribes of humans that hold them sacred to this day. We must teach the history of the land to ensure people respect where it came from and how important it is to so many to this day.
We can’t have it all, right now anyway, so we need to keep fighting the good fight. We need to keep visiting, keep buying annual passes, keep respecting the land, and keep voting for people who make public lands a priority.