Keep Public Lands Public.

As Teddy Roosevelt once said: "I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us."

The background photo above was taken in the "Driftless Area" of Northeast Iowa. It's natural amenities waned with the rise of big agricultural and it's run-off, but began to turn around with the rise of the "Conservation Reserve Program." 

Today, 33 trout streams support natural spawning. 

But one of these streams, Bloody Run, is seen by a large cattle confinement as a possible "development roadblock." The 10,000-head confinement poses the danger of manure spills that could hurt water quality in the area. 

In the current fight about land out West, you hear the argument of "too much public land" being monitored or set aside to be federally managed. That land, it's argued, should be put to a "better," or commercial use. 

Iowa is not a place with "too much public land."

A whopping 97.2% of Iowa's land is not public. That makes Iowa 48th in the country for amount of public land -- ahead of Kansas and Rhode Island. Yet it's argued that this 2.8% public or protected land, like Bloody Run, is holding back development? 

We need to respect the land that we all share, and we need to fight for the land we all share. A portion of our "Public Lands" shirt sales go to an organization we have long supported, the Environmental Law & Policy Center, which focuses on Midwestern environmental issues. 

Public land should not only be kept public, but should be protected from detrimental off-shoots of private land. 

To close with another quote from TR: "But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation."

Photo at the top by Bill Nellans for the Iowa Tourism Office