The term wise use does not describe an organization or a formal alliance but, rather, is an umbrella term for a worldview more or less shared by hundreds of grassroots and business organizations and think tanks. Despite appealing to a broad base of rural landowners and other sincere adherents, the wise use movement has faced criticism and suspicion from environmentalists, who counter that its populist positions are little more than a cynical front for the resource extraction industries that fund them.

Hostile equally to environmental regulations and environmentalists themselves, the wise use movement has since the late 1980s sought to curtail or roll back conservation measures by changing the terms of debate over the environment from protecting wilderness to protecting private property rights. Offering as its ...

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