Railroads & Clearcuts

holding corporations and governments accountable
restoring the public domain

Millions of acres of public land intended for homesteaders was instead given to timber, mining, and real estate corporations. The failure of the railroad land grant policy is the cause of many of today's economic, political, and environmental problems, including deforestation, toxic waste, and taxpayer subsidies. The Railroads & Clearcuts Campaign intends to hold government and corporations accountable, and to reclaim this land to the public domain.


 During the nineteenth century, three quarters of the continental United States was sold or granted to homesteaders, war veterans, local governments, and corporations. Between 1850 and 1870, ten percent of the lower 48 states was set aside to help finance and operate the transcontinental railroad and telegraph systems. Railroad corporations were entrusted with millions of acres of land and instructed to build and operate the nation's transportation and communications systems. Instead, the railroads sold millions of acres to timber, mining, and real estate corporations.

The largest of the railroad land grants was to the Northern Pacific Railroad: 40 million acres in a 100-mile wide band running 2,000 miles from the Great Lakes to Puget Sound. A century later, much of this land is controlled by Weyerhaeuser, Plum Creek, and other timber and mining corporations. Many community and environmental problems stem from corporate abuse of the Northern Pacific railroad land grants.

Since the original land grant laws were written, a third of the land has been reclaimed by the U.S. government because of grantees' failures to fulfill public policies. But millions of acres more are still being clearcut and stripmined. Workers and communities are being poisoned with toxic waste. Corporations are squandering our taxes, writing our public laws, and controlling our local and national governments.

The Railroads & Clearcuts Campaign continues the work to

Please join, endorse, and support the Railroads & Clearcuts Campaign.

How to Get Involved

This website is maintained by George Draffan