Land better left in hands of the public

I was most alarmed when I read your front page article in the 27 July issue of the Appeal. In that article you reported that the Bently Family Limited Partnership was seeking about 32,000 acres of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land, consisting of 25,000 acres in the Pine Nut Mountains, 5000 acres near Mud Lake and 2000 acres in Alpine County.

The article did not even give a hint as to exactly what the Bently Family Trust intended to do with those 32,000 acres if their proposed "trade" were to be approved. One can only speculate that this additional 32,000 acres would become as inaccessible to the public as his present properties in the southern part of Douglas County already are, what with his myriad signs prohibiting access, gates and triple strands of barb wire fences surrounding other parcels of his property.

Even though both the BLM and Forest Service presently appear to have forgotten that the public, not the federal bureaucracy, are the owners of the land under their care and management, the public is far, far better off having even their flawed control of this land that they would be if it passed into the hands of the Bently Family Trust.

At least in the present circumstances, the public has recourse to gain access. Should it pass to the Bently Trust, we would have no hope or appeal.

Administrations change, and policies with them, but private ownership of property that is in effect owned by all of us presently, means private control as far into the future as one can see. In spite of what Mr. John Singlaub, manager of the BLM's Carson City office said about the proposal by Bently offering possibilities, and that there are Bently

owned parcels that could be used for recreation purposes, this reader would feel much more comfortable if the very thought of Bently acquiring 32,000 acres of public land were to be met with a firm, permanent, NO!

If the lack of public access to presently owned Bently tracts were to be extended to another 32,000 acres of presently publicly owned land, it would, in my opinion, be a travesty.


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