Our freedom to hunt and fish depends on habitat. While many of us enjoy hunting and fishing in human altered environments such as farm fields or reservoirs, there is something special – even magical – about hunting deep in the backcountry or fishing on a remote river. Wilderness hunting and fishing delivers a sense of freedom, challenge and solitude that is increasingly trampled by the twin pressures of growing population and increasing technology. Many treasured fish and mammals – such as cutthroat trout, grizzly bear and bighorn sheep – thrive best in wilderness. Many more flexible species, like elk and mule deer, benefit from wilderness. From the Steens Mountain Wilderness in Oregon, the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho to the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, our members treasure America's wilderness system and strive to add to it.
We take the advice of Theodore Roosevelt: "Preserve large tracts of wilderness... for the exercise of the skill of the hunter, whether or not he is a man of means."
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.
From: Greg L Munther, BHA Chairman, Montana Chapter
Bill Hallinan, President, Wild Divide Chapter of the Montana Wilderness Association
To: Ms Lori Wood
Helena District Ranger
Helena National Forest
2880 Skyway Dr
Helena, MT 59602
Dear Ranger Wood:
Recent experiences indicate the Helena Ranger District must give much more careful consideration of impacts stemming from poorly conceived functional contracts.
We are referencing the authorization and use of motorized vehicles on trails designated as non-motorized in the Elkhorns Wildlife Management Unit in an effort to spray weeds. We are pleased to see the District working to prevent spread of noxious weeds.
However we question the necessity and wisdom of allowing contractors to drive off road vehicles on non-motorized trails and areas on the District.
Our Conservation Director, Holly Endersby, discuses BHA's role in bringing about constructive dialogue on issues surrounding public land use. Click the Read More link to listen to the Interview.
The Utah BHA Chapter is embarking on an advertisement campaign to educate the Utah congressional delegation and county commissioners that many Utah sportsmen and sportswomen desire to ensure access to Americas' outdoor heritage in a natural setting. We want public policy decision makers to understand that many sportsmen and sports women believe in protecting the big natural areas that support our hunting and fishing heritage. These decision makers need to understand that hunters and fishers are concerned with our freedom to hunt and fish in a healthy habitat. Utah BHA is bringing sportsmen and backcountry advocates together to protect our outdoor traditions and make sure future generations enjoy the high quality outdoor experiences we grew up with.
By Holly Endersby, BHA Conservation Director, Idaho BHA Chapter Chairwoman
The Collaborative is a group of local stakeholders in the Clearwater River Basin, helping set priorities and guide management of this prime piece of big game habitat and fishery.
The Collaborative, along with the USFS were successful in submitting a Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Act proposal. The proposal was selected as one of ten across the nation for funding. The purpose of the $1 million in funding is to benefit habitat and a healthy forest conditions across a large landscape in the Clearwater National Forest. Not only will this benefit land, water and native plants and animals, it will provide employment for Basin residents. It is truly a win-win proposal.
|Courtesy of Clearwater
When I first started my job as E.D. with BHA, Board Member Holly Endersby and her husband, and charter member, Scott Stouder were pivotal in orienting me on the activities and potentials of BHA in Idaho. It was amazing to hear about this large scale planning process they described, involving a wide variety of stakeholders, and spanning a very large area within the Clearwater River Basin. This is big, wild country spanning two National Forests, the Nez Perce and the Clearwater. This planning process, known as the CBC, is really a model effort where representatives from the local community are active participants in directing the area’s economic development and natural resource use and protection. I have attended two of the CBC meetings watching Holly and Scott in action. I have been very impressed with this group’s cooperation and effectiveness in working through potentially contentious issues. I recently interviewed Holly on how she and Scott got involved in this unique project, and where she sees the connection for BHA.
Big kudos to Paul Vetrees, the Pike National Forest for helping gain powerful support for habitat protections in the Colorado High Country.
Pike National Forest Representative Paul Vertrees helped convince Colorado's Fremont County Board of County Commissioners (2 Republicans and 1 Independent) to vote unanimously, 3-to-0, in favor of more wilderness designations in their county.