The recent armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge at Burns, Ore., highlights a total lack of understanding about public lands by some groups. States and territories were created by the federal government as America moved West. Homesteading, mining, reclamation of arid lands, etc., were encouraged. Because of the nature of the West, most public lands today are located west of the Continental Divide and in Alaska. Ranchers, hunters, loggers, fishermen and others have enjoyed the public lands for many years. Today with environmentalists and others urging curtailment of historic uses of these lands, conflicts will arise. Management of these lands seems to fall to the courts rather than local advisory groups and local managers. I was appalled at the comments of our Idaho state representatives who went to Burns and displayed a total lack of knowledge about how states were created and public land history.
Larry L. Woodard, Meridian