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.
Wyoming BHA is hosting it's 2nd Annual Pole Mountain Workday, August 2nd in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.
This year, we will also be joined by members of the local Trout Unlimited. Join us in the morning, as we work to restore habitat disturbed by illegal motorized use. We'll finish the day off around lunchtime with a wild game cook-off. Bring your friends, family and some wild game to grill!
We'll meet at the Lincoln Monument at 9:00 a.m. Lunch will be provided.
Hope to see you there!
By Brian Jennings
When the U.S. Forest Service was formed in 1905, it was charged with managing our public forests for the greater good of all. We all own them and have a right to use them. But the Forest Service is also charged with protecting the natural resources in our forests, and sometimes that means policy decisions don’t square with the wishes of everyone. A prime example concerns off-road travel on public lands in Northeast Oregon. Those who prefer OHV travel in the forests often clash with those who don’t, and in 2014 the USFS finds itself between a rock and a hard place when it comes to managing travel in Oregon’s largest national forest – the Wallowa Whitman. When forest supervisors rolled out a plan to close nearly half of the forest’s 9,100 miles of roads in 2012, local citizens objected so strongly the plan was rescinded. So, it’s back to square one, and a new process to develop a travel management plan is underway. In the meantime, cross - country travel is basically unrestricted in the Wallowa Whitman. Such travel often leads to habitat degradation. I saw it firsthand in a weeklong trip through the Blue Mountains while touring both the Umatilla and Wallowa Whitman National Forests.
By Ed Arnett and Greg Munther
The forthcoming decision on listing the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act has sparked controversy, fear and anger among Westerners. As expected, legislators are politicizing the issue — and not necessarily for the greater good.
Reps. Steve Daines of Montana and Cory Gardner of Colorado recently joined other members of Congress to introduce legislation that would delay the listing for 10 years. In Utah, legislators decided to use $2 million of taxpayer money on a controversial lobbyist-for-hire to fight for an unnecessary delay.
“Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
The secret’s been out for quite some time, Gunnison County is a sportsmen’s paradise, boasting some of the best backcountry hunting and fishing in the state of Colorado and arguably, the country. With numerous storied wilderness areas, miles-upon-miles of incredible and publicly accessible cold water fishing and plenty of wide-open public land to explore, sportsmen have good reason to work towards protecting the wild public lands and waters that make Gunnison County what it is.
Named by the Boone & Crocket Club as one of the top 125 counties for trophy hunting of all-time (68th), there’s good reason that many people wait years to hunt this storied and undeveloped landscape. Until the extremely controversial “spider bull” was killed recently, Gunnison County held the world record typical elk, taken in what is now the Raggeds Wilderness in 1899. While Gunnison’s hunting fame is centered on elk and deer, the area also offers great hunting for bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion, waterfowl and grouse.