PLWA was invited to participate at the Knowing the Land – Public Lands, Outdoor Recreation, Stewardship, and Gateway Communities Forum sponsored by the Beartooth Front Community Forum, at Red Lodge. The Forum was held on Saturday, May 20, 2017.
John Gibson, PLWA’s Vice-President, was part of the 3rd panel addressing Public Lands Access and the Public Lands Transfer Movement.
Public lands play an important role in an outdoor recreation and tourist economy, sustainable local businesses, and communities. There is an effort to transfer federally managed public lands to the states or privatize them. Panelists discussed the importance of continued access to public lands and water to sustaining an outdoor recreation economy, local businesses, habitat conservation; and the possible affects to the outdoor recreation economy and the local business community if public lands were privatized or transferred to the State. Panel discussion included strategies for elevating knowledge about importance of the outdoor recreation economy to sustainable communities.
- Public land access issues and the current movement to transfer public lands to the States or privatize public lands.
- Access policies for State lands compared to National Forests, and BLM managed lands.
- The affect to County budgets if revenue from payment in lieu of taxes from was lost.
- Would there be any difference if National Forests, National Parks, BLM, or other public lands were managed by, or transferred to, the State.
- What would be the affect to local communities dependent on tourist and outdoor recreation activities if access to public lands was changed?
- Collaborative groups building consensus between outdoor recreation interests, stewardship, and natural resource extraction industries.
- How citizens can become more informed and involved in participating or commenting on public land access issues, public land management decisions, or pending legislation. “
John passionately shared the basics of PLWA’s mission, stream access, the public trust, at times the necessity for litigation, MT Supreme Court decisions – to cheers and clapping from the public.