On the Auction Block
The proposal has prompted four former Forest Service chiefs to sign a letter urging Congress to reject the plan. The retired chiefs say the auction "would establish a precedent contrary to that of the last 102 years" and that "a proposal to sell off public lands to fund other programs, no matter how worthwhile those programs, is a slippery slope." As the Denver Post notes, the chiefs headed up the Forest Service for 22 years -- from 1979 to 2002 -- under both Republican and Democratic presidents.
The Administration has argued that the parcels proposed for sale are "non-vital" -- scattered and isolated and therefore difficult to manage. Closer inspection reveals that a good many of the parcels are in fact in-holdings, many of them within roadless or scenic areas or containing old-growth forest. See for yourself: Users of Google Earth can download this kmz file to browse parcels that are proposed for sale across the country. The public comment period on the proposal is open through March 30. Find out more here.