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Pitkin County Commissioners: keep Feds managing public lands

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Marci Krivonen
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Pitkin County is fighting a national effort to transfer federal public lands to states. The county plans to send a resolution to congressional representatives in Washington DC. 

One group advocating for state control of federal public lands is the American Lands Council. It argues state control would improve access, environmental health and productivity on land managed by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Pitkin County, where 83 percent of the land is federally managed, argues those agencies are doing a good job. Commissioner Patti Clapper worries about financial ramifications of transferring ownership.

"The fear for me is, if the states take over ownership of these public lands and they don’t have the financial resources to manage them, they’ll sell them off. So we won’t have an issue of public lands and public access - they will be gone.”

Colorado lawmakers debated a similar public lands transfer during the latest legislative session. Pitkin County commissioner Rachel Richards testified against it before it died in a House committee.