Synopsis: Available June 12th Only!
In a time of growing polarization, Americans still share something in common: 640 million acres of public land. Held in trust by the federal government for all citizens of the United States, these places are a stronghold against climate change, sacred to native people, home to wildlife, and intrinsic to our national identity. But today, despite support from voters across the political spectrum, they face unprecedented threats from extractive industries and the politicians in their pockets. Part love letter, part political exposé, Public Trust investigates how we arrived at this precarious moment through three heated conflicts — a national monument in the Utah desert, a proposed mine in the Boundary Waters, and oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — and makes a case for their continued protection.
Public Trust is generously sponsored by Rogue Creamery and The Earth and Humanity Foundation.
I grew up in Georgia, where hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreating generally occurred on private land and only at the discretion of those who owned it. Thus, when I moved to Colorado in the winter of 2008, I had no inkling of the existence of public land. Through mucking around outdoors with friends, I learned that much of the land in the West is federally managed and thus open to me to camp, to hunt, to gather wood, etc. As someone who was accustomed to either sneaking onto private property to fish or swim or being corralled into tawdry and generally less than awe-inspiring “natural wonders,” I was fairly gobsmacked. In 2014, I began working on what would become No Man’s Land, which ultimately focused on the Bundys’ armed occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. It was during my immersion in this topic that I learned that this microcosm of anti-federal fury was overshadowed a larger, even more sinister movement to rob Americans of their public lands to benefit those who are already unfathomably wealthy.