Introduction: The Context of Public Lands Policy Change
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book offers an analysis of public lands policy and change since the 1960s. It examines the involvement of interest groups and political institutions in policy debates, the intergovernmental context of programmatic disputes, and the capacity of federal land management agencies to make use allocation decisions. The book analyzes the development of interest groups and strategies affecting policy disputes as well as the ongoing battles between the federal government and the states over the fundamental question of who decides— that is, should the primary authority for making land use decisions lie in the hands of federal or state officials? It addresses both development-oriented programs and preservation-oriented programs. The book explores workforce and budgetary trends in the four major federal land management agencies— the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, and the National Park Service.