D.C. vs. the Wide Open West: New at Reason

One of the great ironies of life in mountain and desert states is that many of the people you meet are either escapees or descendants of the East Coast—but they ended up in a place where Washington, D.C., has an enormous presence. The federal government owns more than 60 percent of Alaska and “46.4 percent of the 11 coterminous western states,” the Congressional Research Service reported in 2012. Elsewhere in the U.S., by contrast, the feds’ share is just 4 percent.

To say the feds “manage” these lands is an affront to clear language. As Shawn Regan, a former Park Service ranger turned scholar at the Property and Environment Research Center, wrote in The Wall Street Journal in April 2015, “the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management lose $2 billion each year” in the effort, writes J.D. Tuccille.

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