For sportsmen and women who depend on public access to hunt and fish, here’s a bit of good news – Congress is making strides towards permanently funding one of the most important funding sources for public hunting and fishing access: the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
In a recent letter to the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Republican House members emphasized the importance of the Land & Water Conservation Fund to the outdoor enthusiasts and to $1.06 trillion outdoor recreation and tourism based economy that they help sustain. They requested that LWCF be permanently funded and that other House members join in supporting this tax-free public access and conservation program, which recent polls suggest, is supported by 85 percent of Americans.
Signers of this letter included Congressman Steve Daines (MT), Mike Simpson (ID) and Dave Reichert (WA). If your Congressman stood up for public hunting and fishing access, take a minute to thank them. If not, take a minute to contact them and explain the importance of public access to your hunting and fishing pastimes.
Photo Courtesy of Nathan Nichols, 2013 Hunting Photo Contest.
Pebble Mine: BHA has been working to stop the proposed Pebble Mine near Bristol Bay. The Pebble Mine, if allowed to proceed, would be the largest copper/gold mine in North America. The location of the mine would be right above Bristol Bay, a pristine fishery that is home to the world’s largest Sockeye salmon run. In addition to salmon, the bay is home to a huge diversity of other fish and marine mammals and sea birds. BHA does not believe the short term benefits would make up for the long term effects of placing a gigantic mine above one of our last great fisheries. This part of Alaska has frequent earthquakes, which could easily jeopardize the dams necessary to hold back toxic mine tailings. Alaska BHA members have been meeting with biologists and Board of Fisheries directors and making comments about proposed actions and proposed legislation.
For a BHA blog on the Pebble Mine.
To read more about BHA Alaska’s efforts to stop the Pebble Mine, as well as other issues that Alaska BHA is involved in, click here.
BHA members founded a new Arizona State Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in September and will be working to identify key areas for protection.
For many years now Colorado BHA members have advocated for protection of the roadless big game habitat and wild waters found in Brown’s Canyon. BHA Life Member, Bill Sustrich and Habitat Watchman, Bill Dvorak recently expressed their thanks to Senator Mark Udall for his efforts to see that this landscape continue to produce big wild rams and healthy brown trout.
Their thanks were featured in the following segments which ran on the local radio station, KVRH:
The following is an interview with Amanda Lowrey of Sandpoint, Idaho (age 25). Amanda is a BHA member who is currently one of the finalists in the Extreme Huntress Competition. Amanda will also be a part of a panel at BHA's 2014 National Rendezvous in Denver on "Women and Hunting."
How did you start hunting?
I started tagging along with my dad and grandpa when I was a little girl, long before getting my own hunting license! I was hooked from the first time I went out in the woods! I shot my first deer with my mom when I was 12. I was very fortunate to have grown up in a family full of hunters and outdoorsmen who were willing to share their skills and knowledge with me.
What do your friends think about the fact that you’re a hunter?
Most of my friends are fellow hunters, but even the ones who are not are very supportive!
What is one lesson that you’ve learned through hunting?
“Stop and smell the roses” so to speak. Hunting is not just about killing or putting a trophy on your wall. It’s about the experience, the memories made in the field, family, friends, beautiful sunsets, the smell of the trees, the sound of the birds, etc…never forget to slow down and enjoy your surroundings and EVERYTHING the outdoors has to offer. Do your part to preserve what we have, and don’t take anything for granted!
New Mexico sportsmen today thank our U.S. Senate delegation, Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, for reintroducing legislation that would permanently protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region in southern New Mexico.
Their bill, the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act, would ensure that sportsmen have good opportunity to hunt and enjoy the scenic beauty of some 500,000 acres near the state’s second-largest city, Las Cruces.
“This legislation will permanently protect important areas like the Sierra de Las Uvas, the Potrillos and the Robledos mountains where southern New Mexicans have hunted for decades,” said John Cornell, president of Doña Ana County Associated Sportsmen. “We need to make sure areas like these remain open to hunting and hiking so we can always have places to pass on our outdoor traditions to the next generation.”