by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As appearing in the Daily Sentinel

Most of us are unaware of the caliber of disaster caused by some member of the U.S. Popcorn Board revealing how another member voted in a popcorn referendum. But no worries. The Department of Agriculture is keenly aware and has made that a federal crime to protect us from any future recurrence. The same agency makes sure nobody sells cream style corn that isn’t creamy enough.

Hundreds of Internet stories describe silly regulations, many of which are not true. One is an oft-repeated tale that you can’t own chickens in Louisville, Colorado. In fact, residents can have up to six hens, prompting a city official to say, “See, we do not have dumb rules here.” Really? Why six but not seven?

President Reagan famously said, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” The regulation part describes activists now clamoring to regulate walking on public land. It’s hard to tax or subsidize walking, leaving regulation as the only clear option.

You see, there is a growing chorus of concern about the welfare of wildlife because of the presence of people on this Earth, and all previous attempts to insulate wild things from mankind have apparently failed. Since the 1960s, vast areas of public lands have been designated wilderness, where people can go only if they walk or ride a horse. No motorized vehicles, no roads, no trails. These are “untrammeled” areas, where man is only a temporary visitor but does not remain, as the Wilderness Act of 1964 explains.

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