A land that is facing ceaseless development. A people mired in obesity from their over-reliance upon technology and motorized equipment. A quality of life—particularly the sporting life—that is rapidly careening downhill. These are some of the basic tenants of our call to arms—for American and Canadian sportsmen and women to stand up for the wild country and wildlife that depend so much upon it. Now, more than ever before, we need wild lands: places to rekindle the depths of the human soul. Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is a non-partisan group of sportsmen and women who are standing up for wilderness and for the wildlife that depends upon it.
The Sportsman Channel’s Randy Newberg Notes, “LWCF has been a Great Tool for Securing Places to Hunt and Fish for Sportsmen”
Washington, D.C. – Today, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) joined Randy Newberg, host of The Sportsman Channel’s “Fresh Tracks with Randy Newberg,” to discuss the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to sportsmen. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) served as a host of the event. Co-sponsored by the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Trout Unlimited and National Wildlife Federation, the event showcased several projects that have benefitted from the use of Land and Water Conservation Funds for public access to hunting and fishing.
Created by Congress 50 years ago, the Land and Water Conservation Fund uses revenues from oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) – instead of taxpayer dollars – to conserve important natural resources. Since 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been one of the most successful federal conservation endeavors – protecting American history and heritage, as well as conserving public land and clean water for recreation and wildlife habitat, and supporting the hunting, fishing and larger $646-billion outdoor recreation economy.
|Join BHA, help us stop this national land grab!|
A radical cry to wrest our national forests and Bureau of Land Management land away from public ownership is being heard throughout the West. That cry should alarm all Americans who cherish their freedom to hunt and fish.
The American people own 450 million acres of national forest, rangeland, wildlife refuges and national parks. Some of these lands are famous while others are obscure "secret spots." They include trout streams, elk pastures, duck marshes and huckleberry patches. Our federal land system and outdoor heritage is the envy of the world and depends on keeping federal public lands out of state ownership.
Last month, 60 elected officials from nine western states met in Utah to hear a lawyer’s twisted argument that our federal public lands birthright is somehow unconstitutional.
The following is Montana BHA's response to a recent survey conducted by the Environmental Quality Council in regards to the management of federal lands in the state.
Montana Environmental Quality Council
PO Box 201704
Helena, MT 59620-1704
Attention: EQC Members:
As a statewide hunting and angling organization, Montana Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (MT BHA) consists of over 300 engaged Montana men and women. The following is our response to SJ 15 and the recent survey of counties re SJ15 by EQC.
Resident hunters and anglers in Montana are increasingly dependent on public lands to hunt and fish, as most private lands have become much more difficult to access. In fact, approximately 68 percent of resident hunters hunt on public land. This is important to note as only 29% of the state is held in federal ownership. To attempt to accommodate hunters and anglers on less than a third of the state will require very careful management of habitat for both wildlife and fish. Hence to retain huntable and fishable populations, protecting and enhancing habitat to support these species should be the core element considered for the management of public land.
As a big game hunter who (like over 90% of Colorado sportsmen) hunts public lands, the recent push by some elected officials and big-industry groups to transfer our federal public lands to state ownership, or to sell them off outright to private interests, is more than a little troubling. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that long ago (during the Bush administration years) that similar shenanigans were taking place: former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) introduced a bill requiring the federal government to sell off 15 percent of national forest lands and 15 percent of lands managed by Interior Department agencies.
More recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget engineered by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) that supports selling “unneeded acreage” of federal land on the open market. And here in Colorado, legislation sponsored by Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg (R) and Senator Scott Renfroe (R) is aimed at “transferring” our federal lands to the state. But all such proposals are bad for sportsmen, bad for wildlife and bad for anyone who recreates on public lands.