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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

The great outdoors

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.

Posted in: Hoosier lore


tim zank
Mon, 01/08/2007 - 1:15pm

Wow, talk about a misleading headline. The article doesn't really address conservation but rather acquisitions (by the state).....

Steve Towsley
Mon, 01/08/2007 - 4:40pm

There is another aspect to this and that is land speculation. There is nothing wrong with private ownership for one's own use, but one has to wonder how much land extending beyond the current border of commercial development is reserved by people who hope to turn the acres of grass, bushes and woods into concrete and steel for profit, without any concern for any other factor.

Assuming we're not going to co-sign Gordon Gecko's declaration that "Greed is good," there must be an ethical yardstick in there somewhere.

Jon Olinger
Tue, 01/09/2007 - 4:53am

There is a wonderful yardstick at play here. Its' called the free market. If I want to buy a field in the path of development and wait ten years, and someone wants to sell me that field, then I assume the risk of the property not developing and I reap the rewards when and if it does.

Government ownership of land does little to help the individual or even local communities. Mass government ownership of land and over regulation of land use has falsely inflated California Real Estate to a point at which prices are ridiculous and even a moderate to low end home is out of the price range of the middle class.

I hope the federal government keeps its fingers out of Indiana Real Estate, Id rather see the great outdoors in Tazian or Trumps hands, not a bureacrat's.

Steve Towsley
Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:53pm

>If I want to buy a field in the path of
>development and wait ten years, and someone
>wants to sell me that field, then I assume
>the risk of the property not developing and
>I reap the rewards when and if it does.

Exactly the speculator's position. But let's not automatically talk about every case of property not developing as a risk. That is not true. Ask around.