"Our Common Ground" by John D. Leshy

Our Common Ground A History of America's Public Lands John D. Leshy

Publication date:
22 Feb 2022
Yale University Press
752 pages: 235 x 156mm
22 b-w illus.
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The little-known story of how the U.S. government came to hold nearly one-third of the nation’s land primarily for recreation and conservation

The U.S. government holds nearly one-third of the nation’s land—more than 600 million acres of forests, plains, mountains, wetlands, deserts, and shorelines found in every part of the country. In this book, John Leshy, a leading expert in public lands policy, discusses the key political decisions that led to this result, beginning at the very founding of the nation. He traces the emergence of a bipartisan political consensus in favor of the national government managing vast areas of land primarily for recreation, education, science, and conservation of biodiversity and cultural resources. That consensus remains strong and continues to shape American identity. Such a success story of the political system is a bright spot in an era when many doubt whether government can ever produce good results. This book is essential reading for anyone who cares about public lands, and it is particularly timely as the world grapples with the challenges of climate change.

John D. Leshy has been deeply involved in public land policymaking for nearly fifty years as a government official in the executive and legislative branches of government, a law professor, author, and advocate. He currently lives in San Francisco, California.