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Letter to the Editor: The battle over public lands in Iowa isn't over

Posted: Tue, Mar 12, 2019 1:48 PM

(The following Letter to the Editor has been submitted by Lyle Luzum of Decorah):

"Now that the crowds are gone from the Iowa Capitol, attempts in the Legislature to cripple the ability of people to donate land for the public good are back. The Senate bill, a companion bill, which was introduced the same day and sponsored by the same organizations as the House bill that died, is alive and well and may be debated soon.

Senate File 548 would essentially prevent land owners from donating or selling land to a public entity for pollution control projects AND prevent the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and other conservation groups from assisting landowners in donating any property for the public good through the use of a revolving loan fund. Basically, the new law would invert the intent of the original law.

The effect would be to essentially shut down any further public lands development, including parks, trails, and other public outdoor recreational areas.  These amenities are the basis for a major part of our economic development in beautiful NE IA.  Do you recall our politicians running on this?

Further, this Senate bill is really a vessel into which will likely be poured any of provisions that were part of the defeated House bill. The only lobby groups in support of both of these bills are the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Cattleman's Association. These are their bills.  Check out SF548 and the Lobbyist Declarations at

Contact Sen Mike Breitbach at michael.breitbach@legis.iowa..

If this isn't defeated in the State Senate, it could well be amended to contain even more toxicity and become Rep. Bergen's issue.  Contact him at

Remember, when you go out to drive, walk, run, ski, bike, hike, fish, canoe or other outdoor activity you are likely either trespassing or on public lands.