The case for privatizing our public lands just became surreal. Last week, the Idaho Freedom Foundation published an article on Facebook that features an argument that is so absurd, it may have jumped the shark.


On Aug. 27, 1982 President Ronald Reagan set aside 110,000 acres in the Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument. Sadly, if Reagan would have done that today, many in his party would have called him a “radical environmentalist.” But back in the early 1980s, the GOP still saw the root word “conserve” in the term “conservative.”

The monument set aside those acres for scientific study and as a tribute of an indelible part of American history — the eruption of Mount St. Helens.


Now the decision to preserve the blast zone for science and posterity is being used by people who want to privatize our public lands.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation published this post on Facebook last week. It was accompanied by the article When Forests Become ‘Big Polluters.’

IFF FB post2

The point of this photo illustration and the article it promotes is that the public land in the National Volcanic Monument, left, is decimated, while the private land owned by Weyerhaeuser lumber company, right, is pristine.

In other words, pubic lands are bad and private lands are good.

It’s absolutely absurd.


1.) It’s nice to see the land grabbers being honest. When they claim they want the states to seize control of public land, they actually mean they want to privatize the land.

2.) The comparison between monument and Weyerhaeuser land is such an over-the-top case of apples vs. oranges, it’s ridiculous. The private land next to the monument was planted after the eruption because it is managed like a tree farm. Meanwhile, the national monument is being preserved for historical and scientific reasons. If the standard for good management is meeting your management objectives, both sides are going a very good job.

3.) Imagine auctioning off our public lands to corporations that only grasp exploitative land management. Now imagine the “No Trespassing” signs that will follow privatization. It’s hard to imagine anybody would seek that outcome to benefit the average American. Instead, it seems like something that would only benefit large, extractive corporations.