|In the end... (Photo by Robert Lawton)|
Land disputes are far from new. Each group that seizes a piece of the good earth thinks of itself as owning that land.
The United States government, for example, claims to own the following: “85 percent of Nevada, 66 percent of Utah, 62 percent of both Idaho and Alaska, and 53 percent of Oregon.”
If this doesn’t seem excessive enough, try factoring in these additional federal claims: 48 percent of both California and Wyoming, 42 percent of Arizona, 36 percent of Colorado, 35 percent of New Mexico, 29 percent of Montana, and 28 percent of Washington state.
To its credit, the government has set aside some of these lands as national parks and wildlife preserves. This has prevented
private interests from turning these acres into environmental disasters.
On the other hand, the feds themselves have done quite a bit of damage. From the violent seizing of ancestral lands to the ravaging of them with nuclear blasts, the government has turned the American West into a shadow of its former self.
Friend and foe alike will one day realize that no one truly owns the land. As Tolstoy pointed out, a man only “lays claim” to a burial plot in the end. And even that is temporary.
Copyright January 5, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved