It’s not often these days when you read good news for a small group, one that is often overlooked and disregarded when laws are passed and politicians’ agendas are enacted with no regard for public opinion or resistance from niche groups. I am referring to us boondockers, a small but passionate group of RVers.
This week Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) withdrew legislation that would have transferred three million acres of land from federal to state ownership, citing objections from constituents who complained that the move would limit access to public hunting and fishing grounds. What is amazing is that here is a politician that actually listened to his constituents and took the proper action.
For RVers, and especially boondockers, the transfer of Federal public lands to state or private owners would be disastrous. These lands could be sold off by the state’s politicians to enrich the state coffers, meet current budget demands, or fund their pet projects. But worse is that this kind of action is irreversible – those lands would never be returned to the public (that’s us).
No more would we be able to enjoy these lands, as stated by Chaffetz’ constituents, for hunting and fishing, and for boondockers for camping and enjoying this nation’s great outdoors away from the trappings of civilization. We would lose those lands where we enjoy the solitude and isolation of camping out in nature’s purest areas, among the Ponderosa pines and the desert’s Joshua trees, by mountain streams and hidden lakes, alongside the birds and wildlife that make these wild lands their homes.
“I am sensitive to the perceptions this bill creates in the current environment,” Chaffetz wrote in his letter to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) as reported by the Washington Post. “As a proud gun owner, hunter and public lands enthusiast, I want to be responsive to my constituents who enjoy these lands. I look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders in the broader public lands discussion in a collaborative manner.”
But I still worry about his last few words: “I look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders in the broader public lands discussion in a collaborative manner.” To me, it sounds like he is still open to making some kind of alternative deal with those people trying to grab these public lands for their own use and benefit. And that is something that all RVers need to keep vigilant about. Any efforts to take public lands away from us – the “Public” in public lands – should be made totally transparent and thwarted before it’s too late.
Read more of Bob Difley’s posts on the Good Sam Blog, and on his Gizmos & Gadgets blog on the RV Travel network of blogs, and Ask BoondockBob in the RVTravel Saturday newsletter. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.