The Bolle Center strongly believes that it is possible to thoughtfully discuss and debate important conservation issues in an intelligent, respectful, and engaging fashion. The aim is to foster a smart and respectful exchange of ideas and do so in multiple ways, such as perspective and opinion pieces written by those inside and outside the Center, research white papers, and interviews with those making news in Western conservation. 

Featured Content

Transferring Federal Lands to States: Unanswered Questions and Implications for Wildlife

Professor Nie’s talk on the transfer of federal lands, made at the annual meeting of The Wildlife Society in March 2017.

Federal Public Land Law Turns 40

Director Nie’s perspective on the 40th Anniversary of the National Forest Management Act and the Federal Land Policy Management Act, as published by High Country News.

The Contested Use of Collaboration and Litigation in National Forest Management

This perspective paper takes on the most controversial issue in modern national forest management—the charge of “environmental obstructionism” and the purported abuse of the courts by environmental interests. The paper goes beyond the clichés and soundbites to learn more about the views, issues and policy implications at the core of the debate.

New perspective paper (Oct. 2015)

Proposed Transfer of Public Lands

Director Nie corrects false claims and provides some historical and political context regarding current efforts to transfer and privatize Western federal lands.

Nie on why “Proposed Transfer of Public Lands is Prelude to Privatization.”

Nie’s presentation “The West Against Itself…Again,” providing historical and political context regarding efforts to transfer federal lands to the states (2013).  (powerpoint in PDF format)

Nie’s testimony on Montana’s study of public land management in Montana (full testimony or abbreviated remarks)

Creating the Next Generation of National Forest Plans

Throughout the United States, national forests are beginning the process of revising national forest plans. These plans must be written in accordance with the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) and the agency’s 2012 planning regulations. Many citizens will be new to this process, and those experienced in forest planning will find several differences in how plans were written under the old regulations compared to the new planning rule.

Forest plans play a significant role in shaping how our national forests are managed, from the types of uses and activities that are permitted to the environmental protections afforded to water and wildlife. There is a lot at stake and forest planning is a complicated process. To help sort things out, the Bolle Center asked Jonathan Haber, a former Forest Service planning specialist, to write a policy paper focused on what people should know about and pay attention to in the revision of national forest plans. Haber’s analysis, based on years of experience in forest planning, will help guide citizens though this important process. 

Download the paper (pdf)

The Next 50 Years of the Wilderness Act

Nie and BLM wilderness specialist Christopher Barns speculate on the next 50 years of the Wilderness Act in this piece published in Sept. 2014 in Mountain West News "Wilderness: The Next 50 Years?" Download the paper (pdf) 

Interviews with Experts

Nie’s rare and candid interview with Mark Rey, the former Undersecretary of Agriculture under President Bush, as published by Mountain West News