Cruz wants billionaire benefactors to pave paradise
by Kevin Foley
July 17, 2014 11:00 PM | 2965 views | 5 5 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When I visit Montana, I always try to spend at least a day or two in Yellowstone National Park.

I had the privilege of touring Yellowstone on a snowmobile last March and then again, a week ago, at the height of the summer season; same place but an entirely different world.

In Yellowstone, you’ll spot license plates from nearly every state, excited families driving from all over this great country to see for themselves what America once was; wild, pristine and mysterious. It should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Geysers spout, steam pours from vents in the ground, buffalo literally roam and elk graze in wide, windswept meadows, unmolested and magnificent.

In Yellowstone, the hand of man is restrained, development kept to a respectful minimum, nature left alone to do what she has done for the millennia.

We are free to visit a world lacking in modern trappings, a place of towering snowcapped mountains, sprawling forests of pine, sparkling streams and blessed quiet.

On this latest trip, during a cool, sun washed afternoon, we encountered a juvenile grizzly bear wandering next to the Madison River. We watched a young family from Colorado marveling at bear’s antics and thought of the stories those lucky kids would be telling their friends at school come fall. What a memory.

In 1872, Congress set aside Yellowstone’s 3,500 square miles as the first national park, a preserve of natural wonders for the enjoyment of all.

In the years since, many other majestic places were protected from exploitation: the Great Smoky Mountains, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Acadia, Glacier, all celebrated in Ken Burns’ aptly titled PBS series, “America’s Best Idea,” a must-see.

From coast-to-coast, these remarkable parks serve as living reminders of where we came from and who we are. Few would disagree they should be left alone for future generations to enjoy.

Tea Party Sen. Rafael “Ted” Cruz is one of the few.

Cruz wants Yellowstone and all of the other national parks in the West sold, presumably to the Koch brothers or some other billionaire industrialist on his speed dial.

Instead of a place where Americans can refresh their souls, Cruz envisions strip mines, clear-cut lumbering and drilling rigs. As if man hasn’t already defiled enough of the American landscape, Cruz would violate what remains of our nation’s natural cathedrals.

After engineering the government shutdown last year, we thought we understood the depths to which Cruz would sink to selfishly advance his nihilistic political career and his undemocratic agenda. But now we know Cruz’s rapaciousness is limitless.

To Ted Cruz, nothing is sacred except Ted Cruz.

Last week, he attached an amendment to the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act that would prevent the federal government from owning more than 50 percent of the land within any one state, the balance transferred to the states or, more likely, auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Now dead, the act was designed to expand access to hunting, fishing and shooting on public lands. Sportsmen’s groups adamantly opposed Cruz’s amendment.

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers call it, “a radical cry to wrest our national forests and prairies away from public ownership.”

“Public lands shape the American identity, support local economies and perpetuate our sporting heritage. They should not be sold,” added Trout Unlimited.

If Cruz gets his way, Yellowstone might soon look like nearby Gillette, Wyo., a dingy and depressing company town perched next a massive black hole where coal is ripped from the earth.

No more soaring eagles. No more clear running rivers. No more vestiges of the vanishing American wilderness. Just another industrial hellhole enriching people who couldn’t begin to spend the money they already have.

This is Cruz’s twisted vision of “freedom” — and if you see what he sees, I feel very sorry for you.

Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
July 19, 2014
How about some context?

The states holding the smallest percentage of federal land are Connecticut and Iowa, each with 0.3%.

The largest is Nevada at 81.1%.

There are five states holding over 50% federal land that could potentially be impacted by Cruz's amendment. Those states are Oregon (53%), Idaho (61.7%), Alaska (61.8%), Utah (66.5%), and Nevada (81.1%).

Let's say the amendment passes, then what? According to Mr. Foley:

"Cruz wants Yellowstone and all of the other national parks in the West sold, presumably to the Koch brothers or some other billionaire industrialist..."

Well, Wyoming doesn't fall into the "over 50%" group. More importantly, "presumably" is the operative word. He's making this up. Trying to stir his low info fan base.

I don't think Glacier NP is going to be clear cut. I don't think Rocky Mountain NP will become an open pit mine. I don't think Half Dome in Yosemite will be ground into gravel and I don't think the Grand Canyon will become a landfill.

I do agree with you, Mr. Foley, about one thing. Our parks are magnificent. I've never been to Yellowstone, but I've been to several in the west. This is something the federal government has done well.

I think Cruz's motivation is simply about state sovereignty. Is there anything wrong with that?
Lefty Loon
July 19, 2014
Kamrad K-Fo,

You had best not let your environmental wacko friends on the fringe left know that you tore through Yellowstone Park on a snowmobile. This type of vehicle is known to disturb the federal protected pink throated Bama Bird.
Mike H
July 18, 2014
Thank you federal government for Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield and Cochran Shoals National Park. Cobb is woefully deficient in providing its taxpayers with the park and outdoor amenities that most counties provide their citizens. In fact, our conservative legislators would sell off Cobb's natural treasures if they could. Ronald Reagan's interior secretary fought to put Cochran Shoals into the hands of private developers.

Also, former Governor Joe Frank Harris and Path Foundation get credit for the Silver Comet Trail.
Honest Abe
July 18, 2014
Dear Comrade Kevin,

Maybe you are just not getting it? Yes, Yellowstone with its pristine beauty is a national treasure to be sure. But consider what Mr. Cruz is trying to do. He is attempting to create more revenue streams and thus tax revenue to support the huge migration presently taking place of most of Central America and a good chunk of South America to the continental US. Until all of these future taxpayers get settled in and start pulling their load they will have to be supported with all kinds of federal and state free stuff, you know food stamps, WIC vouchers, Section 8 housing, free cell phones, Medicaid especially the part that pays for maternity cases and birthing and the like. Comrade Kevin the US realistically can't afford the luxuaries of pristine wilderness areas with all of these thousands of Hispanic new Americans that are coming in every single day. So, enjoy Yellowstone while you still can because it along with the old dead white male America of the past will soon be gone and for good too. And also take particular note that even now criticizing a congressial representive with a last name like Cruz will not bode well for you with the new massive voting block that is coming into being even as we speak. Beware of that mental lapse in the future comrade and get with the new and improved "good think" and when in doubt about the new protocol ask yourself, "What would Obama do?"
Ben Twomey
July 18, 2014
A modicum of fact and a boatload of second guessing, innuendo, speculation and fabrication is what Foley has foisted off on the MDJ, in the guise of journalism.

Like all liberals, Kevin thnsk if he tells the same untruths enough times they will be fact.
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