On December 11, Mr. Ivory from the American Lands Council gave a speech in Hamilton to urge us to sell off our public lands in Montana, so we could be more like Illinois or Louisiana, which have very little public land. He gave some interesting but irrelevant historical information on land policies from the Colonial and Revolutionary era. Mr. Ivory stated that county taxes are greater than federal land payments to counties, a statement that is totally false here in Ravalli County, where private forest land within the Bitterroot National Forest pays about 10 cents per acre in taxes to Ravalli County, while the federal government pays 2 dollars per acre (2012). It makes you wonder about his other “facts”.
A few people stood up and applauded his concept of selling public lands, which would lead to land posted with “No Hunting or Fishing” signs. However, when a gentleman stood up and eloquently said the American people treasure their public lands for hunting, fishing, and other recreation, and want to keep them public, the audience broke into loud, sustained applause.
With the current severe problems in Ravalli County government, from the incompetence of the Treasurer appointed by the commissioners to the deplorable road maintenance, it is no wonder the county commissioners are trying to divert our attention by attacking the federal government land policies.