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The Washington Post reports that Sen. Rand Paul, on his recent trip through several western states, saw a nexus between the devastating forest fires which have been plaguing the west for weeks now and the overreaching hand of the federal government.

Taking the tone of the growing chorus of activists who want to see some or all of the federal lands turned over to their respective states, Rand said, “In the East, the federal government owned land but sold it early on. In the West, the feds have kept a lot of it. I think there’s a way to transfer some of it over.”

He also quoted Justice Brandeis as saying that “the most cherished of rights among civilized people is the right to be left alone” and added “I think if you were left alone, you might manage your forests a little bit better.”

Growing concerns over the mismanagement of federal land in western states have led to the creation of multiple organizations including the American Lands Council run by Rep. Ken Ivory of Utah and the Western Landmark Foundation run by Idaho County Commissioner Jim Chmelik which are dedicated to securing these valuable lands for the use and management of their respective states.

These efforts have drawn criticism from radical environmentalist groups and Democrat candidates seeking to keep the western states dependent on federal handouts. Some moderate Republicans have also joined this opposition in order to placate their more liberal constituents who prefer sage grouse habitat to the productive use of land.

We hope that Rand Paul will not be the only presidential candidate to endorse the idea of transferring federal land over to the states.