I have concluded from the many letters and articles about wilderness that there is a prevalent belief that the federal government owns and controls lands within the borders of the states.
The Constitution grants no rights to the federal government to own or control any land (except for two types of land: Washington D.C. and defense sites purchased from the states - refer to Article I, Section 8, Clause 17). So the states should control the land within their borders, not the federal government. Generally speaking, the land did belong to the federal government before some of the states existed, but should not the states have been given all of the land within their borders at statehood?Some people argue that the states cannot control parks, specifically speaking, as well as the federal government can. Why is that? Are the people in the federal government any different than the people in the state government? My experience has been that state parks are just as well cared for as are the federal parks. Is it not rather that some people in other states don't trust our state to control things the way they want?
Should not each state have the right to have and control its own land, resources and people according to the will of its people? Let the counties designate whether any land be "wilderness" or whatever. This is based upon the God-given and universal principle that I cannot take or control my neighbor's property (without his/her permission), so how can I delegate to anyone, person or government, the right to take or control my neighbor's property?
Lest someone feel this approach to be too simplistic, my point is to alert us to the trend of relying on the federal government for everything. Certainly there are problems to be solved, but they can be solved locally. The environmentalists have alerted us to many concerns that we local citizens can wisely apply. It is the matter of control that this letter is stressing. Besides, are we going to revere and follow the Constitution, or are we not?
Don L. Olson