Every year, thousands of acres of high value forest lands are lost to conversion to strip malls, second homes, and resorts. Local jobs and long term revenues for schools are lost, wildlife habitat destroyed, and public access to traditional hunting and fishing areas diminished.
Even worse, many of these land trades and sales are done without much needed public input and equal opportunity to bid on available lands. Invitations to participate are often extended only to big developers and other insiders.
I'll reform this process and make sure that serving the public's interest is the top priority of our state's Department of Natural Resources each and every day. I will work with individuals, groups, organizations and local jurisdictions to afford them adequate notice and opportunity to purchase state owned lands that may become available for sale and to keep locally significant recreation lands accessible to the public. We need to take a more thoughtful approach focused on long-term sustainability--for trust revenues, jobs, recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, and ecological protection rather than sell off our future for short term profits.