6 Pages

The Public Interest in the Federal Lands and the Reagan Administration's Asset Management Program

WithDouglas MacCleery

Professor Bromley has provided some interesting insights on the debate over privatization of federal lands which are relevant whether or not the federal lands are sold. There is no doubt that many lands remain in federal ownership because Congress has made an explicit decision that they would better serve the public interest in that ownership. The national parks are prime examples. Also in this category are many parts of the national forests which are components of the Wilderness System, the Wild and Scenic Rivers System and National Recreation Areas, or which are otherwise specifically designated by Congress. Essential to success in the Asset Management Program is the legislative authority to dispose of national forest lands. Many of the points Professor Bromley makes about economic efficiency, the need to consider non-market values, and the difficulties of determining the appropriate mix of market and non-market resources have relevance even if these lands remain in federal ownership.