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600 million acres and a lot of debates: the history of public lands in the USA

<p>The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon</p>
The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon

Square one of our constant debates over public lands is whether we should even have any, outside of military bases and transportation facilities.

Count John Leshy down for a firm YES. He is an attorney well-versed in the history and use of public lands, and he points out that they have often united Americans, instead of dividing them.

His deep knowledge and his stints with the federal Interior Department inform his latest book, Our Common Ground: A History of America's Public Lands.

From the Louisiana Purchase to the takeover at the Malheur National Wildlife refuge, there's a lot to talk about. The author sums up his book in a chat on the JX.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.