Public Lands

Rowan Moore Gerety / NWPR

The weed whacker is a frequent companion to the sounds of chirping birds and rustling pines at Ross Frank’s ranch outside Leavenworth. With forested land on all sides, Frank says managing his woodlot has become part of his lifecycle, “like taking out the trash on Sunday.”

Using the machine to clear dense brush beneath a stand of aspens beside his home, Frank says “we’re mimicking what fire would have done naturally”--clearing out the understory to make future fires less damaging.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Hut-to-hut or village-to-village trekking is a popular vacation pursuit in regions as diverse as Europe, New Zealand, the Himalayas and Vietnam. It's not much heard of in the U.S. Now some hikers, businesses and nonprofits are promoting a vision of walking holidays right here in the Northwest - in the Columbia River Gorge. But the town-to-trails hiking concept clashes with some old-timers' visions for the Gorge.

Washington State Patrol

Voters have legalized recreational marijuana in Washington and Oregon, but police continue to find illegal marijuana grows on public lands.

In fact, Washington authorities report an uptick in plant seizures and arrests this year.

Umptanum / Wikimedia Commons

The Yakama Nation and neighboring tribes have strongly objected to a congressional move to offer public access to a place tribal members consider sacred. That place is the scenic summit of Rattlesnake Mountain in the Hanford Reach National Monument.

Miguel Vieira / Flickr

If you enjoy hiking in the pristine Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington's Cascade mountains, then a package of bills moving through Congress applies to you.

They'll make sure you can continue visiting for years and years to come. The Alpine Lakes area is actually one of dozens across the country affected by this package of bills. Senator Patty Murray says these lands are crucial.

"Designating these will make sure that they are managed and protected into the future and can't be sold of or used in ways that don't allow the public to use them," Murray said.

Bureau of Land Management

Sixty percent of the land in Idaho is controlled by the federal government. And some people would like those national forests and rangelands transferred to state control. But the Idaho attorney general told a crowd of tea party conservatives in north Idaho on Saturday there’s a good chance the state would lose that effort in court.

Katie Campbell

The Federal government is missing out on tens of millions of dollars in revenue from companies that mine coal on public lands. That’s according to a new report released by the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

For some of us public land in the west is a place to camp and recreate. For all of us, these lands are a source of water and the air we breath. That’s especially true in Idaho - where more than half of the land is federally owned and managed.

Trails Of Trouble On Wild Lands

Mar 13, 2013
Jay Krajic

Some federal budget cuts can be found in places you might not be looking -- deep in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. As EarthFix reporter Aaron Kunz explains, for hikers and horse packers, frustration is mounting over the state of disrepair of recreational trails on public land.

Western States' Public Lands Fight Comes To Idaho

Jan 23, 2013
Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

A fight between western states and the federal government over control of public lands has surfaced in the Northwest. Last year Utah and Arizona lawmakers passed bills requiring the feds to sign public land over to them. Now Idaho lawmakers are discussing whether a similar bill is right for their state.

EarthFix Reporter Aaron Kunz has more.

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