Our forests, air quality, water quality, food quality, recreational use of public land, energy production, families, communities, counties, jobs, and prosperity are systematically being destroyed. The people closest to the problems—those that actually live and work on the land—are acutely aware of this, yet increasingly have little say in the matter.
On October 23rd and 24th Defenders of Rural America joined together in Clovis, CA at the Veterans Memorial Building to learn more about Constitutional Counties and restoring local jurisdiction, in an effort to prevent the Federal Government from taking our Public Lands. This event was sponsored by Kirk MacKenzie, Founder of Defend Rural America and Defend Rural America’s core group in Fresno.
The recent listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the Yellow-legged frog and Yosemite toad as endangered or threatened and the designation of critical habitat for these species has created quite a stir among local residents and users of our public lands. If this happens people will be excluded from 2 million acres of their Public Lands covering 14 counties and 9 National Forests. Mariposa is one of the counties that will be affected.
These various user groups are seriously educating themselves in an effort to take back their counties. Here are some of the things that they learned.
• Our elected agents, state and local representatives owe their highest and only loyalty to their constituents. They have no duty, nor authority, to enforce federal municipal laws; represent the interests of special interest groups or stakeholders; or to represent the interests of owls, frogs, or toads.
• A summary chart included in the 1962 Eisenhower Report shows that 95% of all land falls into the proprietorial jurisdiction category. They are under state jurisdiction. They are not federally-owned nor under federal legislative authority. Only 5% of the lands so designated are under federal legislative authority.
• In the United States, sovereignty resides in the people. It is the authority to which there is politically no superior.
• Our nation’s Founding fathers understood a freehold is essential to being a freeman. Accordingly, the People, as sovereigns, would own the lands, either collectively as public land, or individually as private property. Thus, the federal government does not own our public lands. They are the trustee.
• The federal government was not delegated unilateral authority to take or control lands. The federal government is not a country unto itself, created to conquer the sovereign States or subjugate everyone to its rule.
• Jurisdiction does not require the consent of the federal government. Once challenged, jurisdiction cannot be assumed. It must be proven.
On Thursday, Doyel Shamley gave an intensive 6 hour class on how to use jurisdiction to protect our communities. A resident of Apache County, Arizona, Shamley was able to get his county to pass two resolutions in which his county asserted its Constitutional right to start managing the forests in its area, the result being a thriving economy and the protection of their citizen’s health, safety, and welfare. The program was a huge success, one in which the entire community participated and benefitted. Doyel Shamley and others subsequently testified before the house Natural Resources Committee about the Apache County story. The committee lauded the plan and held it up as the model for other counties and states to follow. He is available to help our county and others do the same.
In summary, counties have the authority and the duty to immediately begin the proper management of the public lands within their county borders, including the so-called “federal lands.” There is no need for the consent of state legislatures or governors, the federal government, or the courts. There is no need to file lawsuits, spend millions of dollars, or wait 10 years for judicial determination. There is no need for new or amended legislation. The only requirement is a Constitutional County with representatives that understand the Constitution and uphold their oaths to protect and defend it.
Understanding and enforcing jurisdiction is one of the most powerful tools available to local communities to regain a voice in their destinies. If you are interested in becoming part of the Defend Rural America movement in Mariposa County contact Evie Wilson at (209) 742-4261 or email@example.com or 209-233-8705 leave a message. For much more information please visit www.defendruralamerica.com. UNITED WE STAND!
Wendy Brown-Barry & Kevin Barry
Sierra Nevada Human Rights Alliance