Pueblo Design
 La Jicarita

A community advocacy newspaper for northern New Mexico

Box 6 El Valle Route, Chamisal, NM 87521

Volume VII

February 2002

Number II


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The Valles Caldera: A Showdown on Public Lands Management By Mark Schiller and Kay Matthews

Land Grant History of the Valles Caldera, or Baca Location No. 1 By Malcolm Ebright

Interview with Antonio DeVargas: Founding Member of La Companía Ocho

Editorial: Paying to Play in the Forest: More Than Meets the Pocketbook By Kay Matthews

The Valles Caldera: A Showdown on Public Lands Management

By Mark Schiller and Kay Matthews

Many New Mexicans have been following the recent news reports regarding the Valles Caldera National Preserve, the 89,000-acre tract of land in the Jemez Mountains purchased by the federal government in 2000. The Preserve is managed by a Board of Trustrees, comprised of representatives from Santa Fe National Forest, Bandelier National Monument, environmental groups, ranching organizations, and various other interests. The board is responsible for hiring management staff and setting management policy, but the concept of the Preserve as a "corporation" or "working ranch" was the brainchild of Republican Senator Pete Domenici, who made it clear from the outset that he would not back purchase of the Preserve unless it was managed to eventually become self-sustaining.

Although the Preserve remains subject to federal lands management acts like NEPA and the Endangered Species Act, the board has a much freer hand in determining policy than if it were a national forest or monument. Of course this freer hand also means that special interest groups will be jockeying for position in management decisions. These include ranchers and loggers, recreationists, conservationists, Indian pueblo and land grant members, and hunters and fishermen. The battle lines are already being drawn.

Recreationists are unhappy that instead of immediately opening up the Preserve to recreation the board is preparing to issue grazing permits as soon as this summer. They claim that recreation fees could actually help support Preserve management while grazing has always been a subsidized use of public lands. Grazers, including both Native American and Hispano land grant heirs, claim that traditional uses must be incorporated into management policy to ensure access to land-based people. They would like to see the Preserve also used as a grassbank, a concept that is being successfully employed on both the Carson and Santa Fe national forests.

New Mexico hunters are concerned that the permitting process, to be implemented this fall, not discriminate against local hunters if opened up to the highest bidder. Managers intend to initially issue 90 elk permits by lottery at $25 a pop. Winners - either in-state or out-of-state - would then have to purchase a New Mexico hunting license.

Logging is also on the horizon. Although under the previous ownership of the Dunigan family the Preserve was heavily logged, small diameter thinning projects aimed at restoration may be made available to local loggers like the Jemez Pueblo forestry crew. Some conservationists think that until greater attention is given to developing a management program based more on science and less on politics, activities like logging should be held in abeyance.

A group called the Valles Caldera Coalition, which acts in an advisory capacity to the board, is attempting to bring these diverse interests to the table. Members include the Quivira Coalition, National Audubon Society, Truchas Trout Unlimited, Amigos Bravos, Wilderness Society, Winter Sports Group, the Nature Conservancy, and the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. La Jicarita has asked Ernie Atencio, coordinator of the Coalition, to write an article describing the work his group is doing for the March issue. Meanwhile, we think it is important for readers to learn the strange history of how the Valles Caldera passed from the public domain into private hands and back into the public domain. The following account (page 3) of the Baca Location No. 1 as a private land grant was written by Malcolm Ebright for the Sesquicentennial Symposium of 1848-1998 sponsored by the Doña Ana County Historical Society. This excerpt is part of a longer article Ebright wrote to demonstrate how the application of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to land grants in New Mexico led to five different outcomes: 1) valid grants were rejected entirely; 2) some valid grants were partially rejected; 3) some valid grants were confirmed to the wrong people; 4) some valid grants were confirmed to the right people; and 5) some invalid grants were confirmed. According to Ebright, the Baca Location No. 1 is the "most flagrant example" of this last category.

In future issues we will continue to cover management decisions regarding the Preserve and offer a forum for the various interests to voice their concerns.

If you would like to contact the Valles Caldera National Preserve Trust to add your voice to the cacophony, you may write them at:

Valles Caldera National Preserve Trust.

P.O. Box 1689

Santa Fe, NM 87504

Or you may e-mail the newly hired director, Gary Ziehe, at:



Land Grant History of the Valles Caldera, or Baca Location No. 1

By Malcolm Ebright

Reprinted with permission from the Doña Ana County Historical Society's The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848: Papers of the Sesquicentennial Symposium 1948-1998.

Luís María Cabesa de Baca owned land at Peña Blanca and applied for a land grant in the Las Vegas area of New Mexico to graze his large sheep herd. Although there were several questionable factors about the request, Cabesa de Baca received the grant in 1821 of a tract containing almost 500,000 acres. Over the next ten years he remained in Peña Blanca while his sons and a few shepherds tried to occupy the grant. Settlement on the grant was sporadic due to Indian raids. By the early 1830s Luís María and his sons (who by then had shortened their name to Baca) were forced to abandon the grant.

At about the same time as the Baca Grant was abandoned, population pressure at San Miguel del Bado, together with scarcity of agricultural land and irrigation water, led to a second petition for the same land covered by the 1821 Baca Grant. This petition was on behalf of about thirty families who told the governor that they needed farming lands to support their families and that this land was public domain (terreno baldío). In 1835 Governor Francisco Sarracino made the Las Vegas community land grant to the petitioners and anyone else who lacked farming lands. Members of the Baca family were among those who received allotments and settled under this Las Vegas Grant. But soon after the Surveyor General of New Mexico office was established, two claims were filed for the land covered by that grant, one by the Baca heirs and the other by the Las Vegas Community Land Grant.

Surveyor General Pelham had been in office for only a few months when he was called upon to decide between the Las Vegas Grant and the claim of the Baca heirs. The cases were consolidated, and after a lengthy hearing Pelham found both grants to be valid! For some reason, this first surveyor general thought that he did not have the power to adjudicate title disputes between opposing claims, so he recommended that congress confirm both claims, leaving it to "the proper tribunals" to decide. Pelham failed to explain how his decision comported with his instructions to validate land grants in accordance with Mexican law and custom, "to recognize all titles, as she [Mexico] would have done." By the time the thorny question reached the senate Committee on Private Lands, John Watt, attorney for the Baca heirs, had made the government an offer it could not refuse. The Baca heirs would relinquish their title claim to the Las Vegas Grant if they were given an equivalent amount of land elsewhere in the territory. The committee recommended acceptance of the offer, stating that the proposal was a means of avoiding future litigation and "would undoubtedly have been acceded to by Mexico if the Territory had remained hers."

While this arrangement was supposed to be a means of avoiding litigation, it led to encroachment on a valid grant in Arizona, two lawsuits, and an additional act of congress. The senate committee at least made some attempt to follow the mandate to "do what Mexico would have done," but Article X [of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo] had said that land grants would be valid if valid under Mexico. This was a signal to observe what New Mexico officials did at the time these grants were made, and to reconstruct what Mexico's law and custom dictated regarding land-grant validity prior to 1848. If the surveyor general had examined the Las Vegas Community Grant documents carefully, he would have noted that when the petition was referred to the San Miguel del Bado ayuntamiento for its opinion as to whether the land was available for a new grant, the ayuntamiento reported that the land was public domain and that a new grant would not prejudice third parties. The ayuntamiento's finding implied that the grant had been abandoned by 1835. Instead of looking at the evidence in the grant documents from the 1830s, the senate committee blithely stated that Mexico would have done in the 1860s what congress did. This bordered on the absurd. No evidence was given for this speculative view.

When the Las Vegas Grant was surveyed at a little less than 500,000 acres, the Baca heirs were told to pick five tracts of about 100,000 acres each anywhere in the former Territory of New Mexico. This gave the Baca claimants land that was more valuable than that of the Las Vegas Grant, since they were able to pick the choicest land in the territory. What the U.S. Congress did in approving this deal was appalling in view of the millions of acres of valid land grants that were rejected. The Baca Floats or Baca Locations, as they are also called, are still controversial.

Although all the chosen five tracts of land were initially in the Territory of New Mexico, two are located in what is now Arizona and one in Colorado. One of the Arizona locations was found to conflict with an 1824 grant to Leon Herreros, known as the San José de Sonoita Grant. Even though the Sonoita Grant had been confirmed by the Court of Private Land Claims, the Baca heirs insisted they had a right to the portion of their tract that overlapped the Sonoita Grant, reasoning that the Sonoita claimants had forfeited their rights by not submitting an earlier claim to the Surveyor General. The Baca heirs were able to convince the federal district court of their erroneous position, but were reversed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that the Sonoita Grant was a perfect grant entitled to protection under the Gadsden Treaty. The court of appeals approved the following statements about treaty protection: "this grant was one which, at the time of the cession in 1853, was recognized by the government of Mexico as valid, and therefore one which it was the duty of this government to respect and enforce," and "this government promised to inviolably respect the property of Mexicans. That means the property as it then was . . . ."

This is exactly what the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Treaty said, but it was not enunciated by the court of appeals in the 1850s but in 1920. By then the Sonoita heirs had been required to obtain lawyers, both to have the grant confirmed and to defend it in federal court, before they received this protection. The reason they had to fight this conflicting claim was the blindness of the congressional committee that authorized the Baca floats in the first place. That committee had cavalierly stated that the Baca heirs' offer to take 500,000 acres of public domain "would undoubtedly have been acceded to by Mexico if the Territory had remained hers," but Mexico had already recognized the Sonoita Grant. Thus the absurdity of the statement of the senate committee, with little knowledge of New Mexico, let alone of Mexico proper, becomes apparent.

Another tract of land picked by the Baca heirs is the Valle Grande, six miles west of Los Alamos, the Baca Location No. 1. It is owned at this writing by the Dunigan family in Texas, which is negotiating with the U.S. Forest Service to sell it back to the government for up to $80 million [the land was eventually sold to the government in 2000 for $101 million]. The senate bill which currently would provide authorization for the purchase, lists the following as reasons why the government should acquire the land: archaeological evidence of the use of the land will provide historical knowledge of territorial New Mexico; recreation; a model for sustainable land use; film sets remaining on the property that "are a significant part of the history of the American film industry"; and "so that the American people will not lose the opportunity presented by this resource to potential subdivisions."

Reading between the lines, it becomes apparent that the Dunigan family, operating the land as the Baca Land and Cattle Company, have made a profit from the land somewhat beyond the traditional grazing and timber uses by renting it to make Hollywood movies, and are now considering the possibility of subdividing the land. Little mention is made of the genesis of the Baca Location No. 1 or the possible land claims of neighboring pueblos.

The references that are made to the history of the Baca Location No. 1 in the U.S. Forest Service material, assessing the feasibility of purchase by the government and promoting such a purchase, contain major distortions and omissions. Most important is the lack of any comprehensive discussion of a federal policy regarding the management of government land that was once land-grant land.

Although the possible acquisition of Baca Location No. 1 has been studied intensively since 1990, there has been minimal public involvement in the process. The Forest Service has contacted some environmental groups and Indian pueblos, but land-grant organizations were not given the opportunity to express their opinions about a public land issue that originated as a land grant. If the purchase of the Baca Location goes through, it appears that the use of the land will, notsurprisingly, favor the concern of environmentalists. Yet when legislation is proposed to correct the injustices of land-grant adjudication under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, objections are raised by the same environmentalists that local commons lands should not be made available to the land-grant communities that have traditionally used them.

The change on the map before and after the treaty, in regard to the Baca Location, will be from green [public domain] to red [private property] to green if this purchase goes through. But the green of the Mexican public domain is much different from the green of the U.S. Forest Service. First, it is costing the taxpayer millions of dollars to correct the government's mistake. More importantly, that huge sum of money will do nothing to correct the imbalance caused by the loss of common lands of community grants and other land loss caused by unfair land-grant decisions under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Scholars have pointed out recently that, when local commons become national commons such as Forest Service land, there is a concomitant loss of use-right in traditional communities.

Interview with Antonio DeVargas: Founding Member of La Companía Ocho

Editor's Note: A recent article in the Santa Fe New Mexican, which was subsequently picked up by other news services around the state, referred to the unfinished La Manga timber sale in the Vallecitos Sustained Yield Unit and the timber that was left on the ground "to rot". This contentious sale has a long and complicated history that the article in the New Mexican failed to report. La Jicarita News asked Antonio "Ike" DeVargas, one of the founding members of La Companía Ocho, operator of the sale, to provide that history so readers can better understand why the sale has not been completed.

La Jicarita News: Are you a currently a member of La Companía Ocho?

DeVargas: No, I've resigned from the company, as have most of the others, but one member is planning on trying to keep the company going. What I want people to know is that we were a small company faced with enormous obstacles. People should know what we were up against. We had to take on the biggest timber company in New Mexico, Duke City Lumber, a multi-national, the most powerful government in the world, in the form of the Forest Service, well-heeled environmentalists like Forest Guardians, who have plenty of money for litigation, the devastating intervention of Bill Richardson - I think people need to know how badly he damaged us - the fact that there was no Community Reinvestment Act money for small businesses in rural New Mexico, and then the final back-breaking shut down of the forest due to the Cerro Grande Fire. All of these things, if you stack them up together, crushed us in the end.

LJN: Let's talk about all of these things individually. What about the efforts of the Vallecitos Association in the late 80s and early 90s to force the Forest Service to set sustainable harvest levels in the Vallecitos Sustained Yield Unit and to direct the sales to local operators rather than Duke City?

DeVargas: The Vallecitos Association had been in existence about as long as the Unit, and its goal was to make sure that the employment requirements of the Unit were being met by Duke City and that harvesting the timber was being done in a manner that protected the forest. When the Forest Service had to start doing their 10-year management plans in the 80s, Carson National Forest almost tripled its allowable harvest for Duke City from 3.5 million board feet of timber to 8 million board feet. We fought that and as a result the allowable sale quantity was still at 7.5 million but 1 million was set aside as sawtimber for the locals and 1 million for small products such as vigas, latillas, firewood, wildings, etc.

LJN: Did La Companía grow out of this new opportunity for local loggers?

DeVargas: Yes it did. La Companía started with eight people - La Companía Ocho - although several of the founding members dropped out after the first few years either to log independently or to get out of the business altogether. As a company our first sale was a contract with Duke City on the Valle Grande timber sale in the Unit. The first sale we bought ourselves was the Bolo sale. Here's where we first ran into problems with the Forest Service and realized what their attitude was. They were supposed to be offering a million board feet a year in small sales for local loggers, but they wouldn't sell us the Bolo One and Bolo Two sales until we filed a lawsuit. And when they were forced to offer it to us they charged us over three times as much per thousand board feet as they were charging Duke City. That demonstrated to us that they were trying to set us up to fail while trying to make themselves look good by saying they were making sales available to small operators. They were still biased in favor of Duke City because it's just as expensive to put up a small sale as it is a large sale and so they felt it wasn't worth it.

LJN: Can you explain this first lawsuit La Companía filed against the Forest Service?

DeVargas: The lawsuit claimed we were being discriminated against because of racial and ethnic bias. This is the lawsuit that broke Duke City's back because the Forest Service was required to sell us all the timber that they owed us, which left Duke City with no timber to buy. We initiated the lawsuit in 1994 and it went on during the Valle Grande, Borracho, and Felipito sales, and the next sale was La Manga. When we won against the Forest Service they had to give the communities all of La Manga because there wasn't any other timber. So in essence we kicked Duke City out of the Sustained Yield Unit. That's something the environmentalists can't take credit for although they try to. And they get funded because of it.

LJN: Let's talk about the environmentalists' lawsuit to stop the La Manga sale.

DeVargas: That lawsuit was also very debilitating for La Companía. We had to fight them in New Mexico Federal Court, Arizona Federal Court, and the Court of Appeals in San Francisco. We were shut out of the woods for almost three years because of that lawsuit and the spotted owl injunction and I had to go to work for Rio Arriba County. The environmentalists always find a pretext for their lawsuits. Here they were saying that La Manga should have been a restoration sale, but that's nonsense because they just appealed the Santa Fe Watershed which is a restoration project. It's a pretext to block all forest management they don't approve of. They want only management by nature. They don't want any human intervention.

LJN: La Companía was an intervenor in the La Manga lawsuit. What settlements were offered to end the suit?

DeVargas: The environmentalists proposed a settlement to buy us out so La Manga wouldn't be logged. They had a series of meetings with us and [former congressman] Bill Richardson, always at a high class place in Santa Fe. We were willing to take the money and not log it. That's what they had done in the Pacific Northwest and it was fine with us as long as we were compensated for the loss of the timber. So that's how Richardson initially got involved. But he couldn't get the money from the feds, and he couldn't get it from the environmentalists, although they spent more than that on their lawsuits. That was another pretense, really. When La Companía won the lawsuit against the Forest Service we had already been negotiating with Duke City to purchase the Vallecitos sawmill. That's when Richardson got involved again, insisting that La Companía shouldn't get the mill, that it should be donated it to the community.

Ike DeVargas and Manuel Gurule at La Compania mill site

LJN: Is that when La Herencia del Norteños Unidos got the mill?

DeVargas: Richardson said we needed a non-profit to accept the donation of the mill and we told him we had one, Madera Forest Products. He said, no no no, we needed another one, so he created La Herencia, which only acted as a pass through and essentially doesn't even exist today. La Herencia then donated the mill to another non-profit start-up, Las Comunidades, which got a $200,000 grant from the Department of Energy to retool the mill. This took advantage of a division in the community and essentially meant that control of the mill would be taken away from La Companía, the only operator that was logging in the Unit. This forced us to spend our loan money on equipment that already existed at the mill: another saw, another loader, and other costly tools. With that money we could have bought a kiln drier, a planer-moulder, and a chipper. Then we would have had the entire component we needed to sell the lumber we harvested at top dollar. Because of the state construction codes you have to have dried and planed lumber to sell to contractors.

LJN: What happened to the Vallecitos sawmill?

DeVargas: It's just sitting there, they've never used it. In fact, there's a stack of logs that they bought from another local contractor that has never been milled. So those trees are rotting at the sawmill, just like the ones in the woods. I blame Bill Richardson for the trees left in the woods, for the trees rotting at the sawmill, and I blame him for the destruction of La Companía. I also think he defrauded the taxpayers because the $200,000 was never used to retool the mill. I'd also like to know what kind of tax break Duke City got for giving the mill to La Herencia.

LJN: What eventually happened with the lawsuit?

DeVargas: While the litigation was still going on we bought the Jacques Tank sale and logged, milled, and sold that, then got a loan from the bank so we could start work on La Manga. But between the time we won the suit in the New Mexico and Arizona federal courts and the San Francisco appellate court, we did something that was probably forced on us in a sense, we went up and started cutting in La Manga even though the roads weren't completed. We needed to put the guys back to work and thought we needed to show the Court of Appeals that we already had timber on the ground and the roads were already started. That was a tactical thing we did that strategically was probably not a good thing. It also affected the negotiations about setting diameter limits for the timber we were cutting. We were prepared to go as low as 18 inches in diameter, but Sam Hitt of Forest Guardians was unwilling to negotiate, so that's why there is no diameter limit on pine. We were never given credit for being willing to compromise while they're given credit for being hardline.

LJN: What were the effects of the Cerro Grande Fire?

DeVargas: That was devastating. We had won the lawsuit, we had fixed up our equipment, we were ready to go. Then we were shut-down again.

LJN: How much timber had you already cut?

DeVargas: About 60,000 board feet. We'd finished cutting the roads. We were shut down from spring to fall of 2000. And we weren't able to get any compensation from FEMA. We could have continued if we'd gotten some money. They never gave us a rationale for denying our claim, which is on appeal, but I don't have the drive to do it anymore. I feel betrayed by my government, I feel betrayed by my representatives, I feel the system is stacked against rural people. I used to think it was discrimination against Hispanic people, but now I see it as against all the rural poor. I think that the urban dwellers are ganging up on us. They want everything, our water and our land. They don't want us to be able to make a living off the land. They see the future as being all urban dwellers.

LJN: What's the future for community logging in New Mexico?

DeVargas: I still think conditions exist, from the work that La Companía and Las Comunidades have done, for a local logging group to get together to successfully finish the sales in the Unit. They could take advantage of the performance bonds and the roads we've already built, and that would be a big leg up. I'd like to see it happen. But one of the biggest obstacles is getting the financing from the banks. Another gripe I have about Bill Richardson is that when he was our representative he could have put some teeth in the Community Reinvestment Act to support small, rural businesses like it was supposed to. We could have gotten bank loans at seven percent rather than at the 10.75 we had to pay. We also could have probably gotten a longer payout period. As it was, we were paying quarterly payments on a $250,000 loan and consequently we were always paying on the interest and never made any headway on the principal. I think the Community Reinvestment Act could support northern New Mexico entrepreneurs with a good payout that would really help us get a step up.

LJN: Do you feel any bitterness towards your partners in La Companía for not making more of an effort to keep it going?

DeVargas: Not really. I think that everyone pretty got much got burned out, and I don't blame them because it takes a lot of energy. And I don't have the energy either. I intend to still go to the woods to rejuvenate my body and my spirit, to fish and hike and camp. I don't want people to think that we were just a bunch of mean spirited people who went out to the woods to cut old growth and to let them rot in the woods just to bug Sam Hitt and the environmental community. That's not what this was about. People need to know why it happened.

Editorial: Paying to Play in the Forest: More Than Meets the Pocketbook

By Kay Matthews

The movement to require the payment of fees for entry into our national forests to engage in any kind of activity - hiking, driving, picnicking, cross-country skiing, camping - just won't go away. In the fall of 2001 Congress voted to extend the life of the "recreation fee demonstration program", which allows public lands agencies like the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to charge fees at relatively undeveloped sites like trailheads and parking areas. Hearings are currently being held on plans to expand and permanently approve the fee program.

"Fee demo," as it is colloquially called, is part of the overall vision of these public lands agencies to promote recreation as the multiple-use activity capable of generating as much or more revenue than all the multiple-use extractive industries such as mining, timbering, and grazing combined. And it's not only agencies like the Forest Service that are extolling recreation as the "highest and best" use of our public lands, it's the environmental community as well. Environmental groups are busily assigning value dollars to recreational uses of the land to prove that we as taxpayers will get a better return on our dollar if we support bird-watching instead of a timber sale: the timber program is losing money while we can reap a profit if the trees are left standing for birders.

Of course, there is no talk here of the fact that the only timber sales the Forest Service is putting up these days are desperately needed restoration projects. And the dollar figures that the environmentalists use to support the economic benefits of recreation make no distinction between the impacts of developed recreation, such as a downhill ski area, and the undeveloped activities which may be more benign (or not so benign: there is evidence that undeveloped activities like hiking disupt wildlife communities). According to Colorado State University professor Richard L. Knight, these groups promoting recreation and tourism also fail to analyze the potential of a devastating cumulative impact: "Indeed, considering that it is the very amenity values associated with public lands that are fueling so much of the growth of these rural landscapes, there appear to be inevitable conflicts between amenity-based economic growth and urban sprawl and loss of biological diversity." In other words, the more people who come to recreate on our public lands the more we're going to see forest adjacent subdivisions and second homes threatening the rural communities which help protect our remaining biodiversity.

There is another more disturbing chapter to this story. Scott Silver, executive director of Wild Wilderness, an organization which opposes recreational fees on public lands, recently wrote an article called "The Commodification of Nature: The Profitable Packaging and Branding of the 'Great American Outdoors' Product" (it appeared in both the Canyon Country Zephyr in Moab, Utah, and Colorado Central Magazine in Salida, Colorado). In his article Silver compares the "new public lands predator", called the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) to the "previous predators who sought gas, coal, logs or minerals." According to Silver, the ARC is a coalition of 120 corporations including Chevron, Exxon, Yamaha, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, and the Walt Disney Company, that "seek to commodify nature itself for fun and profit . . . and ultimately sell America's Great Outdoors as value-added recreation products."

Silver asserts that they intend to do this with the collusion of the federal government, largely through the fee demo program. Because ARC corporate members also include resort developers, ski area associations, National Park Concessionaires, and campground management providers, "federal land management agencies would provide these corporate interests with the access to, and a chance to assume management control of, America's Great Outdoors." Congress has already enabled this public/private partnership by enacting the fee demo, which, according to Silver, has opened the door to further legislation that "will more effectively commercialize, privatize or motorize recreational opportunities on America's public lands."

I'd say it's about time for environmentalists like Silver and those who are promoting recreation as the "highest and best use" of our public lands to get together and compare notes. I'm reminded of a statement by John Horning of Forest Guardians (one of the environmental groups promoting the economics of recreation) about the potential for corporate development of rural lands with the demise of public lands ranching: "I'm not trying to fight any corporations, I'm just trying to restore a few watersheds." If environmental groups like Forest Guardians continue to promote a recreational agenda like they do their zero cut and zero cow agendas, they better be prepared to fight the potential corporatization of not just our forest adjacent lands but our public lands as well. Because as Silver points out in his article, the intent of user fees is not about maintenance of trails and decaying infrastructure to support recreational use of our public lands, it is, in the words of the Army Corps of Engineers, " . . . to encourage private development of public recreation facilities such as: marinas, hotel/motel/ restaurant complexes, conference centers, RV camping areas, golf courses, theme parks, and entertainment areas with shops, etc."

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