CGP Grey on 'What is Federal Land?'


Originally published at:


Great as usual. Loved the “NASA” character.


I do feel like i need to point out that much of the Department of Energy land is ALSO part of the war machine, because it is DoE that is responsible for the Nukes, although DoD is responsible for missiles and bombers etc to get them where they’re going. And that National Parks are part of the Department of the Interior, while National Forests are part of the Department of Agriculture.


I always understand things better when people use Magic: the Gathering metaphors.


The video doesn’t mention that state citizens can go and use most public land for free, anytime. That benefit is worth a huge amount of money, considering none of us could afford to buy land for hiking, camping, fishing or hunting. States get enormous tax revenue from these activities.

Would Colorado be as popular if you couldn’t go into the mountains, or ski, where most ski areas are actually on public land?


I hope there’s a sequel in addition to the one about reservations where he goes into the crazy views of Bundy and sovereign citizen/militia types who try to freeload their businesses on federal lands. This is where “rugged individualists” become moochers.


I’m amazed that Cliven Bundy hasn’t been put in charge of the Bureau of Land Management. That seems like a natural given Trump’s other picks.


Life circumstances place me in Texas right now, a state that intentionally sold off nearly all public land right at it’s inception and it suuuuuuuuuucks.

I miss having public lands to run around on.


you can’t smoke weed in national forests… but state game land is kosher in legal states



Great point. My wife’s family ranches in central/west Texas, and mine in southern Colorado. From her place, you pretty much have to stay inside the fences. Our Colorado place is bordered on three sides by national forest, and we can just head out for adventures whenever we want. I think it is very cool to point at a distant mountain top and know that there are no paved roads between here and there, and I can just load up horses or ATVs and head that way for a couple of weeks, or just go on foot.


You’ll have to move to a country with Freedom to roam laws so you can run on private land:


You haven’t looked too hard.


Texas is paranoically territorial, from what I’ve experienced on a bicycle trip along I-10. Landowners trying to block public access to navigable streams, to some even trying to control who an outsider is able to talk to. I’m 4th generation Texan, but fuck if I’d ever want to live in the rural parts.


I’d say the point stands.


I don’t mind it so much, and it is home to my wife,s family. The water thing can get people in trouble. In Colorado, people can access the water, but we own the banks and even the ground under the river. So people can Kayak through, but cannot legally wade through and fish. That is a big deal because there are fishing resorts and guide outfits all around us.
We have also, in both places, and in our place in North Carolina, had to deal with poachers. Often. I don’t really care about someone wandering off of the national forest and hiking through our land, as long as they don’t disturb the wildlife or litter.
I can’t imagine many people hiking near my wife’s homeplace. It is harsh country. I could see camping on a sandbar on the river, but you would still worry about wild hogs ripping your tent to shreds and being devoured by poisonous snakes.
Which sort of leads me to the conclusion that anyone would need to be motivated by more than the scenery to be wandering around out there.


Which is why I think the law against blocking access to navigable streams exists. If one is lost or wandering, one shouldn’t be denied water, which I think is the point. Still, there are a lit of “patriots” out there dumping water jugs in hopes that Mexican migrants will die.


Hey, it’s all just “economic anxiety” on the part of these white ranchers and farmers who own large tracts of land. No racism or white supremacy or nativism there, any more than there is in movements like PEGIDA in Europe. /s


“The grave that you eagerly dig for another is the one you will rot in.”


Yup, been to a lot of of those places. Big Bend is great. But let’s just assume I can tell the difference between a national forest I where I can do a multi-day hike and some plot of land some rancher’s estate sold to the state to make a modest sized park, however pleasant it might be.


The “navigable” part is about free passage. Water use rights are complicated and often draconian. In Colorado, the legalities of our water rights can take up a bunch of your time, and require vigilance to be maintained. Right now, my parents go to all the meetings and deal with it, but some day, it is going to be me. I am a pretty non-confrontational person, so I dread that part of the process. There is always someone trying to get some or all of your water, and they can even be in other states.
One of the interesting aspects is that much of the system involves irrigation canals left from the Spanish colonial period. We own shares, and being upstream means that you get yours first.