It is difficult to recognize change while living through it. However, two recent decisions involving the use of the public’s lands signal a historic political and policy transition, particularly here in the Rocky Mountain West. The first of those two is the almost unanimous rejection by Western governors of the Bush administration’s multiyear attempt to punch roads into the last remaining wild lands here in the Rockies. The second is the public’s outrage at the year-end congressional attempt to sell massive amounts of our commonly held land.
The ham-handed effort to open up the West’s wild places to road building was a mistake fostered by the Bush administration’s belief, or hope, that most Westerners want our wild lands developed. That myth, as with most Western fictions, was long ago created and paid for by those who live outside the Rocky Mountain West, and is being exposed by our Western governors — who, challenged by Bush to encourage roading in our remaining slivers of wild places, are instead reflecting the will of the significant m... Read more