US Olympians including Katie Zaferes and Margaux Isaksen have spoken out advocating continued protection of our public lands. This comes as some circles have pushed for privatizing significant amounts of public land, while in others fear has grown about the possible selling off of some federal and state lands for private use. The uses of these lands’ natural resources could include a spectrum of different, possibly damaging, and less sustainable activities.
There are benefits from both private and public land, and each situation is different, but it should come as no surprise that athletes (and hikers) would usually favor public lands. In fact, public lands such as National Forest lands are often used for many purposes including responsible* use of natural resources, and in my opinion it’s great to have the oversight and backstop protections that a federal steward can provide. And of course it’s worth mentioning that once privatized, it would be very difficult for it to go the other way back to being public land.
*often not-so-responsible in the past, but it is getting more so
I love how Isaksen described how tramping around the outdoors and public lands was a big part of her childhood and ultimately led her to become the person and athlete she is today.
“Growing up next to the Ozark National Forest shaped me as an athlete and pushed me to become an Olympian. More importantly, growing up alongside public lands formed who I am as a person. “
And Katie Zaferes described how important training in public lands is to her as an Olympic triathelete, and how important they are to everyone.
In the face of this threat, I’m determined to raise my voice in support of America’s lands — for future athletes and for future generations… These lands aren’t just available for elite athletes though; they belong to all Americans… Let’s not get tempted by elected officials looking to make a quick buck off our shared lands; let’s make sure this resource is protected forever.