Government ownership of land

I love our national parks as much as the next guy (probably more, having visited every major one and dozens of smaller ones, and loving every minute of nearly every visit), but can someone tell me why the federal government owns so much of our country? Some maps tell the story. See here and here. Now comes news from the Obama administration that there are plans to make more land off limits to economic uses. See here. I understand the temptation to think of nature as benign, aesthetically valuable, and like a piece of antiquity to be preserved, but I think we go too far when we sacrifice economic progress for desert plants, tall trees, fish, and other nonhuman things. Fundamentally the claims of favoring these things for some abstract goals of preservation are antihuman. They are also often ways for politicians to serve their own interests and those of favored constituents over the general welfare.

Read the full piece here.