Public Participation and its Discontents : The Planning Process in Land Management Bureaucracies
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This project draws from literature that explains the opportunities for public participation and the effectiveness of these traditional methods, which reflect Barber's analogy of zoo-keeping. The first chapter will argue that the technical bureaucratic approach to public land management upholds a politics of money through the symptoms of corporate influence and divisive legal battles. The author will develop this by discussing the influence of the Timber Creek logging company and the growing use of litigation to resolve disputes. Chapter two applies the case-study of the White Mountains Resource Management Plan to show how these symptoms are manifest. The last chapter discusses how the process can be improved to increase collaboration in order to challenge economic interests and corporate power. In culmination, the Bureau of Land Management's decision as set forth in the White Mountains draft resource management plan to include hard rock mining is indicative of the broader process of federal land management that operates under an ambiguous multiple use mandate within a top-down structure, discouraging deliberative dialogue and upholding a bureaucracy that easily funnels narrow economic interests. Given the alienating effects of the decision-making process for the White Mountains management plan, a collaborative approach that involves stakeholders and the government working together is necessary in order to strengthen participation and cultivate trust and understanding between citizens and the government.