America's Public Lands: From Yellowstone to Smokey Bear and by Randall K. Wilson

By Randall K. Wilson

How is it that the United States—the state that cherishes the precise of non-public estate greater than the other within the world—has selected to put aside approximately one-third of its territory as public lands? contemplating this exciting query, Randall ok. Wilson strains the often-forgotten rules of nature that experience formed the evolution of America’s public land procedure. the result's a clean and probing account of the main urgent coverage and administration demanding situations dealing with nationwide parks, forests, rangelands, and natural world refuges today.

The writer explores the dramatic tale of the origins of the general public area, together with the century-long push towards privatization and the next emergence of a countrywide conservation perfect. Arguing that we can't absolutely comprehend one form of public land with no knowing its relation to the remainder of the method, he offers in-depth debts of the differing kinds of public lands. together with chapters on nationwide parks, nationwide forests, natural world refuges, Bureau of Land administration lands, and wasteland parts, Wilson examines key turning issues and significant coverage debates for every land kind. He considers questions of bison and elk administration and up to date disputes over hearth coverage, roadless components, mining claims, and grazing charges. This accomplished assessment bargains an opportunity to reconsider our courting with America’s public lands, together with what it says in regards to the method we relate to, and price, nature within the United States.

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Extra info for America's Public Lands: From Yellowstone to Smokey Bear and Beyond

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25 cents per acre). 25 per acre after only six months of inhabitation. At the time, relatively few took up the offer. Between 1862 and 1900 approximately one to four million acres per year were homesteaded. 11 Also passed in 1862, the Morrill Act helped to ensure the success of the Homestead Acts. It did so by providing land to the states to finance higher education, leading to the establishment of the land grant university system. Notably, the universities focused instruction on applied fields of study, including the mechanical arts, home economics, and agriculture.

As we will see, the jurisdictional and conceptual legacy of this development would haunt environmental resource conservation efforts well into the future. But to return to our original question: Which of the two competing political visions for land distribution eventually won out? Was it the Jeffersonian approach favoring small landholders, or the Federalist philosophy giving preference to wealthy investors? It turns out that the answer changes depending on the time period in question. Early laws clearly favored the Federalist position.

The territory in question was vast, stretching from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast, and from the northern boundary of California at the 42nd parallel to the southern boundary of Russian-controlled Alaska at 54°40'. Mexican relations rapidly deteriorating over the annexation of Texas and the British preoccupied with imperial pursuits elsewhere, the delegates agreed the best solution was to partition the territory at the 49th parallel. Through the Oregon Compromise of 1846, the United States thus acquired over 183 million acres of land, constituting modern-day Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

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