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Most of us are not sufficiently wealthy to own our own nature sanctuaries. Luckily, people like Teddy Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell recognized preserving access to nature as a core American value and established the beginnings of the National Park System. Consequently, as citizens, we collectively own millions of acres, not just in the National Park Service, and it is important that management of our land stays with the federal government, which has the most effective resources for the job.

Although "returning" land to the states sounds like a nice idea, the product has often been that public lands become private lands, resulting in exclusion and loss of access. Anyone who cares not only about the preservation of habitat in order to protect our drinking water but also about retaining access to the source of some of the fastest-growing parts of Montana's economy must oppose William Perry Pendley's appointment as head of the Bureau of Land Management. His record indicates that he will move to sell for short-term gain one of our greatest long-term assets: our collectively owned land.

Julie Schultz

Billings

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