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.
No, the sky is not falling, but it is starting to buzz.
As you may have read in the Fall 2013 issue of the Backcountry Journal, or heard about through BHA's Facebook page, the use of drones for hunting and scouting is a small but rapidly growing threat to our fair chase hunting traditions.
Youtube videos of moose being stalked and hogs being eradicated with drones show that the technology is already available and that it will be used unless sportsmen do something about it. In Montana and Colorado, BHA members recently worked with wildlife department staff to develop regulations that put drone use for any hunting or scouting to bed. The regulations that BHA proposed in both states passed unanimously, thanks to the hard work of BHA members like Greg Munther (MT) and Tim Snowden (CO).
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.
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.
TV Host & Montana Senator discuss outdoor heritage in 3 short videos
MISSOULA – Randy Newberg, host of the The Sportsman Channels’ Fresh Tracks with Randy Newberg, wants Congress to stop raiding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and he’s teaming up with U.S. Senator Jon Tester to draw attention to the fund’s importance for hunting and fishing access.
As Congress negotiates a budget deal, Newberg is releasing a series of YouTube videos from a recent interview with Tester about the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Tester is former chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and a longtime supporter of The Fund. Congress set up the Land & Water Conservation Fund in 1964 to direct royalties from offshore oil drilling royalties—not taxes—to fund public access to parks, playgrounds, fishing ramps and wildlife habitat.