The KLT, not the feds, got land use right

In past few days we’ve seen both good and bad examples of managing lands for public use. The Keweenaw Land Trust showed us once again how a dedicated entity, working independently but cooperatively, can preserve recreational land without government interference and intervention. As featured in Meagan Stilp’s Page 1 story Monday, dedication ceremonies were held Saturday at the KLT’s newest acquisition, a 10-acre parcel in Houghton County which includes the popular Hungarian Falls.

Purchased from Torch Lake Township, the KLT plans on improvements such as signs and picnic tables to ensure the scenic parcel, which has been enjoyed by the public for decades, will continue to be used.

Also over the weekend, we saw what can happen with government ownership of recreational land. The beautiful Ottawa National Forest, which spreads out over much of the western Upper Peninsula, is under the constrictions of the federal shutdown. As a result, forest roads cannot be used, as planned, for this weekend’s Lake Superior Performance Rally.

The shutdown has prevented acquisition of the permits necessary to conduct the rally on roads in the forest.

As a result, the course has to be changed and the schedule altered.

For the past two weeks we’ve seen stories of monuments unvisited and gates crashed by veterans as the government stalemate goes on. The affect on the LSPR is the latest example of Washington’s hi-jinx hitting close to home.

We are not saying there is not a need for federal and state ownership of forest lands, but isn’t the idea behind such ownership to preserve these lands for use by the people? Under the current circumstances, the public is denied access to their lands as the result of political gamesmanship in Washington.

We offer a “thumbs up” to the KLT for showing us how to do it right, and a hardy “thumbs down” to the deliberate denial of access to public land during the federal shutdown.