All over the western U.S. County Commissions seem to be amongst the biggest obstacles to public land reform. I am talking about Wilderness designations, watershed protections and landscape conservation. Many rural commissions are run by exploiters of public lands, like livestock operators, oil and gas businessmen and mining interests.
A case in point in obstruction is wolf protection. By a large margin a recent poll showed most people really want those critters in the wild. The reaction of the Catron County Commission was that essentially, "people are stupid" and it is only an opinion anyway. Well opinions are what people believe and they do believe by a large majority that the wolf introduction program is worthy of continuance.
Now, switch over to the Commissioners in Lincoln county. These folks, many who are involved in one way or another with the economic well being of Ruidoso and its beautiful surroundings, just voted to support reform of the 1872 mining law. That law was passed when Grant was President and he may have rolled over a little in his grave when this Republican Commission opted to reform this outrageous law. These Commissioners have seen the future of the west and know protection of their landscapes and the good economies they engender are the right thing to do.
Most rural counties depend on public lands for their resources of forage and minerals. Currently they are losing population and their economies are hurting because they are still in a boom and bust mode. Their big hope is to cash in on the beauty of the land and its watersheds for tourism. That takes some protections. Let's hope the Commissioners see the light!