Headline of the year so far: Indiana's outdoors vanishing quickly. Funny, last time I looked, it was right where I left it. I open my door, and there it is. Even if I just wanted to hide the outdoors, never mind trying to get rid of it, where would I put it? If you read the story, of course, you get a better sense of what is going on here:
According to surveys, Indiana ranks 46th in the nation for the amount of state and federal land set aside for recreation. Plus, Hoosiers are in the unenviable position of being 48th on environmental issues.
As far back as 1995, surveys showed Indiana had set aside less than 4 percent of the state's lands for conservation and recreation.
To some people, land not owned by the state or federal government is the same as "outdoors disappearing." That nasty, old privately owned land, which can be enjoyed only by those who own it, is a slap in the face to those who think everything should be owned by everybody, thus nobody.
To make any sense out of the numbers, you'd need to know a lot of other information, including what percentage of Indiana land is owned by the state and/or federal government. Just comparing our state's rate of acquisition to that of other states means nothing. As of now, the federal government owns about 650 million acres, roughly 30 percent of the land area of the United States. Throw in all the land owned by state governments, and I'd guess we'd be close to half. That seems more than sufficient to me.