With regard to Public lands talk (Thursday, March 17): Although your reporter was careful to attribute interpretive comments about the Constitution to the speakers, it should be noted that those speakers have an extremely narrow interpretation of our forming documents. Additionally, including a photo of Gaddys Constitution class (a man with a similarly narrow view) below the story made me think you are not looking beyond the end of your nose concerning this topic.
Lets ignore that Howell and Redd choose to dismiss 200 years of federal law by focusing narrowly on a select set of first principles. Resurrecting an obscure mining law from 1866, does not alter the fact that the federal government owns federal lands, whether or not they are within a states borders. The Constitution states, Congress shall have the power to ... make all needful rules and regulations respecting ... property belonging to the United States.
Howell and Redd may have issue with federal agencies in Utah, but remember the agencies in Montezuma County have included us in their discussions and they are our friends and neighbors. The rhetoric from those opposed to closing Forest roads is inflammatory and a little frightening. I am particularly disturbed by the sheriffs threats to arrest federal employees if they attempt to enforce federal regulations on federal property.
Rules governing management of our public lands are crafted to protect resource values to benefit all Americans (including Coloradans). Public lands are valuable for habitat and clean air and water as well as commerce and recreation. Forest regulations attempt to strike a balance between all the diverse values inherent in our public lands.
Instead of leaving the misinformation of March 17 as the final word, I hope the Journal interviews local federal employees and others to publish the other side.