[Ed. – Way too big an issue to comment on comprehensively here. But the objections posed by hunters, about lands they are accustomed to hunt on but have no direct financial responsibility for maintaining, could be addressed without joining forces with the left. Complaining that the state doesn’t offer them the same responsibility-free deal the feds do is a weak-hand approach, ripe for exploitation. A lot of people very foolishly denigrated ranchers as moochers on federal lands during the recent standoffs in Nevada and Oregon — but the hunters, on the same principle, can be seen in exactly the same light. As can the hikers, photographers, off-roaders, and everyone else. Everyone’s a “moocher” on federal lands. Think about that for a minute, and you’ll see why it’s better for relations between man and the state to get rid of that dynamic as the ruling one, in our Western states.]
The 52-year-old conservationist and lifelong political conservative worries that cash-strapped states that acquire such land will ultimately be forced to sell to private companies only to extract oil, gas and timber.
He is one of many conservative outdoors enthusiasts to join liberal environmentalists in opposing such transfers.
They stand against business interests and conservative states’ rights advocates who argue that handing the land to states will unleash its economic potential.
Finnerty likes to hunt bear and elk on public land in Oregon with his five sons. But their outings were curtailed two years ago when the state, which had acquired the land from the federal government, in turn sold some of it to logging companies.
“When the federal government owned these lands they were better equipped to keep and maintain them,” said Finnerty, who keeps a handgun in his truck in case he encounters a mountain lion. “The idea that we could lose these federal public lands is not acceptable.”