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Rule easing public lands transfer concerns hunters, outdoor enthusiasts

(WOWT)
Published: Jan. 16, 2017 at 2:11 PM MST
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A change in U.S. House rules making it easier to transfer millions of acres of federal public lands to states is worrying hunters and outdoor enthusiasts across the West who fear losing access.

Lawmakers earlier this month passed a rule eliminating a significant budget hurdle and written so broadly that it includes national parks.

President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Interior Secretary, Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, voted for the rule change as did many other Republicans.

Attempts by some Western state lawmakers in recent years to wrest control of federal public lands have failed. But U.S. lawmakers have the authority regarding such transfers.

Outdoor recreationists fear states would sell the land to private entities that would end public access.

Boise State University public lands policy expert John Freemuth says any land transfers would face significant challenges.