After an initial century of disposal of public lands, and then a second century of federal land retention and direct management, it is time for a new era that will redefine the history of these lands for the 21st century. This will require challenges to longstanding institutions and basic assumptions; such changes are always difficult in government. It is at least a possibility, however, that the current fiscal crisis will prove to be a precipitating event in finally driving a basic rethinking and reorganization of the public lands in the West. Indeed, the public lands will be a good test case of national fiscal resolve. The public lands offer a leading candidate for government cost cutting.