Federal Lands

Over 90 percent of all federally controlled land is located in the West, with roughly one out of every two acres managed by D.C. bureaucrats nearly 2,000 miles away. We are told this is to preserve the environment, benefit local economies, and protect public recreation. Instead, federal mismanagement provides us with polluted air, dying forests, decimated wildlife, depressed economies and underfunded public education, and blocked recreational opportunities.

Our public lands, our wildlife, our communities, and our families deserve better. The Coalition for Self-Government in the West believes that local control and management of our public lands will provide this. Who better to care for the land and promote its beneficial uses than Westerners who live on and love it?

Quick Links

Why is it so important to demand control over our own lands? How can it be done? Can it be done? It’s all in this handy presentation.

Want to know the value of energy resources on federal lands in the Rocky Mountain West? It’s all here.

Is it legal for states to demand the federal government return some of their lands? See the opinion here.

Finally, we’ve distilled the economic value of energy resources on federal lands in several states down to short policy notes: Here’s Wyoming, Montana, and Utah.


Are radical environmentalists trying to dupe Sec. Jewell?

On Saturday, thousands gathered at the Bluff Community Center in Southeastern Utah to share their opinion on the proposed Bears Ears National Monument with Sec. Sally Jewell and other visiting federal officials. As local San Juan County residents arrived, they were met by 100-degree temperatures, signs for and against the monument and a large contingency […]


Finding that trail: How do Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming manage recreation on public lands?

Updated July 5 to reflect corrected data. Outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, hunting, skiing and fishing are a way of life for most Westerners. But as population increases; new forms of outdoor recreation emerge; and access to federally managed public lands declines, the challenge of meeting growing demands for outdoor recreational access […]


Op-ed: National Parks could learn from Utah’s state parks management

(S.L. Tribune) This year the National Park Service is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. But as the agency enters its second century, our national parks are in trouble. A recent study conducted by the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) noted that the Park Service has a deferred maintenance backlog of nearly $12 billion — an […]


Putting the Bears Ears in harm’s way

Supporters of the proposed Bears Ears National Monument paint a vivid picture of ATVs running over ancient pottery, tourists etching initials into petroglyphs, and archaeologists digging up Native American burial grounds. While there is no denying the sad reality of such activities in the past, San Juan County Navajos feel that public education campaigns and […]

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Will Bears Ears promises be kept? Look at history

Editor’s Note: This op-ed originally appeared May 22, 2016, in Deseret News. Supporters of a Bears Ears national monument often say the Native Americans who have the strongest connections to the land support the monument. They point to an Inter-Tribal Coalition letter to the president to justify this claim. The reality is that the Native […]


6 myths about the proposed Bears Ears National Monument

Misconceptions and rumors are circulating around the proposed designation of a Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Proponents of the monument have hurled unsubstantiated promises and propaganda at the people of Utah in an attempt to push through their agenda. The Coalition for Self-Government in the West and Sutherland Institute examine here six such claims […]


Take care of existing national parks before acquiring more land

This August the National Park Service will celebrate its 100-year anniversary. Americans visiting our parks this year have been greeted with birthday cake, free admission, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and commemorative coins. While these celebrations are good-natured, they overlook a serious and growing problem. A recent report by the Property and Environmental Research Center shows that the […]


Defusing the situation

Tensions are high across the Western United States. Decades of federal land mismanagement have produced a powder keg of hostility set to explode and tear apart our rural communities. We have seen glimpses of this in the 2014 Bundy standoff and the recent armed occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge (headquarters seen in accompanying photo). […]


Jumping into action – the wrong way

On Tuesday, federal officials declared 14,000 acres across Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado as critical habitat for the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. Despite feedback from ranchers opposed to the designation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moved forward with its plan to set aside roughly 190 linear miles of river. The small rodent depends […]


A breath of fresh air for Utah lands

Our public lands have taken a number of punches over the last six months or so. We’ve seen an armed occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, the Obama administration freezing new coal leases on federal lands, and the EPA triggering an environmental disaster that turned the Animus River orange from toxic heavy metals. […]