Privatization and commercialization of public lands is increasing. More companies are being allowed to manage national forests and other federal and state-owned lands, and fracking and mining firms are often permitted to extract the minerals beneath. Partnerships between public lands managers and the private sector are also on the rise. For example, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the restored log cabins in Cades Cove is “brought to you by Log Cabin Maple Syrup,” with a plaque advertising the brand and logo.What to think of all this? Everyone knows our parks and forests are short on funds, but where should we draw the line between corporate money and public land management?BRENT MARTIN, Southern Appalachian regional director for The Wilderness Society, is concerned about the potential harms of privatization and commercialization, especially over the long term.What are the greatest potential harms from privatization of public lands? Martin: There are many, including a lack of oversight in environmental protection, overuse, unsustainable exploitation and depletion of natural resources, no guarantees of public access, and a lack of public input regarding management. Which public lands in the East are most vulnerable to privatization? I think that Eastern national forests are particularly vulnerable. National forests are the largest concentration of public lands we have and were acquired after decades of degradation and exploitation. The purpose of acquiring these lands after the passage of the 1911 Weeks Act was largely to protect watersheds from this type of degradation in the future. Since then, these lands have come to provide much more than watershed protection, including protection of biodiversity, a wide spectrum of recreational uses, and special designations such as Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers. Any threat from privatization by default threatens the common good.What about agencies that need the cash from selling public lands, or at least selling the mineral rights? Would you be willing to pay higher taxes to keep public lands public and those minerals in the ground? I’m not sure it has to do with a lack of money or having to pay higher taxes. It appears to be more of a political issue, and one that’s partisan and driven by particular economic interests. However, if one of the states truly needed money, I would pay higher taxes in order to protect public lands.What’s wrong with a state or national park allowing a private company to “sponsor” something in exchange for cash? Is this public-private partnership a realistic way to bring in much-needed funds? I don’t think anything is necessarily wrong with the idea of sponsorships like this. I wouldn’t, however, want a billboard inside a park advertising Log Cabin Maple Syrup, nor would I want the parent company influencing park policy. Also, sponsorship messages should be presented tastefully and not in an obtrusive or glaring manner. Sponsorships such as these could be a good way to raise much-needed money, but there should be parameters on what the sponsors can expect in return, and it shouldn’t diminish the visitor experience in any way.Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute supports arguments in favor of privatization.In your view, what are the main arguments in favor of privatizing public lands?O’Toole: Public lands are poorly managed due to their ownership status. Lands are managed for their most politically productive, rather than economically productive, uses. But the political system encourages people to polarize the public in order to get the biggest share of the public-land pie. In contrast, markets encourage people to cooperate in order to produce the greatest net value.Isn’t it wrong to sell off public lands—which, by definition, belong to everyone—to the highest bidder?Most public lands are dedicated to various special interest groups and don’t truly benefit everyone. If they could be sold to the highest bidder, the revenues would help everyone by contributing to debt reduction or paying for other essential government services. For example, Forest Service studies have found that the market value of most public lands for recreation is many times greater than other uses combined. Recreation would be the dominant use if the lands were managed for maximum economic value.Don’t we have a responsibility to preserve public lands for future generations instead of using them for short-term corporate gain?Public land managers often become just as exploitative of the land for short-term gains, especially when their agencies are allowed to keep some or all of the receipts from resource sales. Elected officials can rarely see beyond the next election, while private businesses have been known to sell 99-year bonds or make investments that aren’t expected to pay off for decades.Even if just mineral rights are sold, won’t the exploitation of those minerals severely diminish the wilderness character of many public lands?Open-pit mining can conflict with many other resources. But many minerals can be extracted in ways that aren’t so damaging. Oil and gas production, for example, uses very little land. In private hands, the owners would balance uses among various groups and what they’re willing to pay.How far should commercialization go? Should companies be allowed to sponsor buildings or even geologic features in national and state parks? Absolutely. Private sponsorship of recreation, scenic, and historic resources makes perfect sense. That doesn’t mean spelling out Exxon or Shell Oil in giant letters on the landscape. But many museums and other urban facilities receive private donations, so there’s no reason why public lands couldn’t do the same.
Inside the Eudlo property’s home. The flower farm at Redland Bay has a brick home as well as a granny flat.In Redland Bay, just over half an hour from the Brisbane CBD, the owners of a large 10.76ha property are throwing their 40-year-old flower business in with the sale of their home, including their two dozen igloos. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:51Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:51 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD576p576p432p432p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. 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This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenStarting your hunt for a dream home00:51 Brisbane puts Sydney, Melbourne in the shade “It is great to have choices and this property gives you that opportunity. Plenty of water with a dam and bore that has never run dry in 40 years.” The Eudlo property. A gardener’s dream at 319 Highlands Road, Eudlo.It has four accommodation options including a one bedroom cottage, a liveable shed, the main house with three bedrooms, and two pickers’ accommodation.“Options are endless and this is year round return — not waiting for seasonal crops. Walk in, walk out and reap rewards immediately.” Everything’s coming up gerberas too on this Yungaburra flower farm.If you’ve got a little more cash to splash then Yungaburra estate could be for you. It’s being marketed heavily by four agencies including Darren Hithersay of Malanda Real Estate who listed the horticultural seven bedroom, three bathroom, four car space property as one where you can literally “wake up and smell the roses”.The flower farm set up 37 years ago had become almost an “institution on the Atherton Tablelands”, producing not just roses but also carnations, gerberas, stocks, snap dragons and assorted filler flowers and greenery.All were “packed on site and supplied to local florists, farm retail customers and as far afield as Brisbane and Darwin” with five staff and three contractors maintaining spraying, weeding and fertilising on the farm.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours ago The 10.76ha Redland Bay property is on the market for $1.89 million.THESE surprisingly self sufficient Queensland green homes peddle petals to pay their mortgages, come with their own igloos and a chance to reap rewards.From just over half an hour outside the Brisbane CBD to as far north as the Atherton Tablelands these properties have been successfully making a living out of Queenslanders’ love of cut flowers.Prices vary from as much as $2.25m for a sprawling 17.8ha estate in Yungaburra — an hour from Cairns to $1.89m for a 10.76ha functioning flower farm in Brisbane’s Redland Bay suburb. FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON TWITTER How Kylie Jenner is cashing in A cheaper alternative was the 6.88ha estate at 319 Highlands Road, Eudlo, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland — on the market for offers over $1.5m.The eight bedroom, six bathroom property was marketed by Mike Burns and Meng Meng of Elders Palmwoods as a “flourishing business set on a fabulous rural retreat of approximately 17 acres”. The Eudlo property is on the market for offers over $1.5 million. This property at Eudlo, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, is on the market for offers over $1.5 million. The 19.56ha property is made up of about three hectares of plantation, 14ha of improved tropical pastureland, and three hectares of scrub on the back boundary.The tropical flower farm has 21 varieties of heliconia. “Currently the heliconias and gingers are being sent to market on a weekly basis throughout the year.” The property comes with the flower business, including 24 plastic tunnel greenhouses, or igloos.The $1.89m property has a brick home, granny flat, three large sheds including one for machinery, three phase power and 24 igloos — otherwise known as plastic tunnel greenhouses.“The business is included complimentary and not represented in the value of the property. No financial statements or books will be provided.” Not a bad spot for a cuppa to look over the flower farm at Utchee Creek: On the market for $1.3m. The Utchee Creek flower farm. Broncos star sells home after finals exit The Utchee Creek property has a permanent creek.Another option is the $1.3m flower farm in Utchee Creek about 23km from Innisfail — which also has exotic fruit 19 abiu trees, 22 lychee trees, 65 rambutans, and also dragonfruit, durian, Fiji longans, star apples, star fruit and assorted citrus. Inside the Eudlo property’s home.
Others include Northern Ireland defender Chris Baird, 31, who signed from Southampton in 2007, Greek midfielder Giorgos Karagounis and Croatian striker Mladen Petric both after only one season at Craven Cottage. Another departure is former Wales international Simon Davies, a key member of Fulham’s run to the 2010 Europa League final. Davies, 33, who signed from Everton in 2007, scored a memorable equalising goal in the final against eventual winners Atletico Madrid. Other departures include Hungarian keeper Csaba Somogyi, manager Martin Jol’s first signing two years ago, plus development squad players Alex Smith, James Musa, Richard Peniket, Tom Donegan and Corey Gameiro. The 40-year-old, who signed on a free transfer in 2008 from Middlesbrough, had been offered a new contract but turned it down. Schwarzer, the first overseas player to make 500 top-flight appearances, is one of a number of players confirmed by the club as being released. Press Association Fulham have confirmed that Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is leaving the club.