Dear Chief Tidwell;
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a national conservation group with active and engaged members in every state who seek out and use wild public land and water for hunting and fishing. We are concerned with the growing backlog of trail maintenance on our national forests and we are writing to ask your support in finding solutions to this issue.
As you know, the USFS has deferred trail maintenance needs in excess of a half billion dollars with only one quarter of the trails meeting agency standards and fully two thirds receiving no maintenance at all. But with America’s burgeoning population, more citizens are using public lands than ever before. With the current serious trail maintenance backlog, these users are being funneled into smaller and smaller areas with negative effects on wildlife habitat and security, both terrestrial and aquatic as well as diminishing the experience for many users who look to our public lands as a “chance to get away.”
We are contacting members of Congress to press for more funding for the USFS. But, we also think there are strategies the agency might use to help reduce trail maintenance backlogs. These are:
Provide an annual breakdown of how the Forest Service’s trail maintenance budget is used, detailing amounts for overhead costs and the costs actually used on the ground. This will allow the agency and the public to look for ways to decrease overhead and increase on the ground trail work.
Dear Chairman Rogers, Chairwoman Mikulski, Ranking Member Lowey, and Ranking Member Shelby,
Since 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been one of the most successful federal conservation programs. LWCF has played a crucial role in the conservation of our nation's natural resources, and the program has long enjoyed bipartisan support. As we move toward a crucial time in the appropriations process, it is essential that LWCF remain a Congressional priority.
LWCF is premised on a reasonable bargain, utilizing royalties from offshore oil and gas production to conserve important natural resources. LWCF dollars conserve important fish and wildlife habitat, and improve access for economically important outdoor recreation like hunting and angling. LWCF funds have been leveraged with private dollars to help conserve wetlands and native grasslands through voluntary easements on private lands across the Prairie Pothole region. In the West, Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars have conserved some of the best big game and fish habitat in the world, and have assured that those acres remain accessible to hunters and anglers. And in the South, LWCF funding of Forest Legacy projects have kept working forest lands working while enhancing habitat for bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, and native brook trout. LWCF is helping to conserve landscapes critical to sportsmen.
CHEYENNE – More sportsmen's dollars will be used for wildlife-related programs with the passage of a bill Friday to allow the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to receive state funds for two key expenses previously paid for through hunting and fishing license fee
Ten organizations united as the Wyoming Sportsmen's Alliance (WYSA) last July after the Legislature voted down a bill supported by the vast majority of sportsmen in the state which would have allowed the Game and Fish Department to raise license fees to address budgetary shortfalls. A similar bill was also defeated this year. License fees have not been increased since 2008.
Representing about 50,000 Wyoming citizens, the WYSA includes Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Bowhunters of Wyoming, Hunting With Heroes, Muley Fanatic Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Wyoming Trout Unlimited , Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, Wyoming Federation of Union Sportsmen and Wyoming Wildlife Federation.
Since in the 1980’s Montana has been the “gold standard” in terms of protecting its citizen’s rights to recreational access of the waterways within its borders. In 1984 The Montana Supreme Court held that the streambed of any river or stream that allows for recreational use can be accessed by the public, from public land, regardless of whether the waterway is “navigable” or who owns the adjacent streambed property. The Montana Stream Access Law gives the public rights to access streams and rivers for recreational purposes, up to the ordinary high-water mark. The law does not allow access through posted lands bordering those streams or to cross private lands to gain access to streams.
No such stream access is available in many states. For example, in Wyoming boaters cannot even drop anchor in a river flowing through private land without being in trespass. Article IX, section 3 of the 1972 Montana Constitution gave the ownership of the state’s waterways to its citizens. It goes without saying that this law that must be protected from those individuals who would like to reverse our State Constitution to privatize Montana steams. This law protects access rights not only to current Montana citizens, but to future generations.
Colorado BHA is pleased to announce that White River National Forest Habitat Watchman, Bob Shettle, has been invited by Colorado Parks & Wildlife director, Bob Broscheid, to serve as the West Slope Angler Representative on the Wildlife Council.
As an avid outdoorsman, experienced teacher and passionate backcountry enthusiast, Shettle brings a unique perspective to the Wildlife Council, whose aim is to “oversee the design of a comprehensive media-based public information program to educate the general public about the benefits of wildlife, wildlife management, and wildlife-related recreational opportunities in Colorado, specifically hunting and fishing.”
Bob was born on the east coast and spent his formative years in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where he started hunting whitetails at age 16. Today he hunts deer and elk and fishes the high country of the central Rockies, and calls Redstone, Colorado, home. Bob was a motorcycle and OHV mechanic for the first part of his career, then an automotive technician, and later taught Auto Technology in public schools for the last 15 years. Now semi-retired, Bob holds four International Game Fish Association line class world records for California golden trout, dating back to the 1980’s. He spends at least a week each year stomping around the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming, in search of still bigger golden trout.