“Ravalli County, Montana must drop its bid to take over public lands within the county borders.” So reads a very short petition posted on the internet last Tuesday, November 13. As background, the petition states, “The Ravalli county commissioners are trying to get local federally administrated public lands turned over to county control. These lands are held in trust for all Americans and should not come under the control of a county government. This could ultimately lead to these lands ending up in private hands.”
The petition is primarily aimed at Commissioner Suzy Foss’s recent efforts to get the county to join the American Lands Council, a Utah based lobbying organization spearheaded by Utah State Representative Ken Ivory. Foss has arranged for Ivory to address county residents at a few gatherings on December 11, one in the afternoon for elected officials and business owners to be educated and updated on what she calls “the regional movement to transfer our public lands to state and local management.” This meeting will be in BJ’s meeting room from 2 to 3:30 p.m. She states in an e-mail that “this meeting is for elected officials and supporting interested parties as it is a chance to discuss legislative and county government policy.”
The second meeting, to be held at the Eagles Lodge, 125 N. 2nd in Hamilton at 6:30 p.m., “will be more general and an overview along with how individuals can get involved.”
Joseph Thompson of Corvallis started the petition drive on November 13 to “stop the madness.” Since then, over 300 people have signed on. The petition may be found at: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/leave-public-lands-alone?source=c.fwd&r_by=8893413.