Utah News

Resolving Public Land Disputes: There is a Better Way

huntingBy BHA Board Member, Jay Banta of Torrey, Utah

The flaring disputes in southern Utah about the appropriate uses of public land highlights one of the very reasons Backcountry Hunters & Anglers was formed: Making sure our shared public land resources are managed responsibly and passed on to future generations.

That is why sportsmen and women must speak out against the threatened illegal ATV ride in a Bureau of Land Management administered area that is closed to motorized use.

BHA members, many of whom own and ride ATVs, support laws and regulations that protect wildlife and their habitat. That said, we often share frustrations about rules that appear arbitrary or cramp our freedom. If BHA members don’t agree with the laws and regulations we work with the appropriate agency and lawmakers to change them.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Condemns Illegal ATV Protest in Utah

PRESS STATEMENT

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Utah Chapter

Friday, May 9, 2014

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, including its Utah Chapter, condemns the illegal ATV protest ride at Recapture Canyon as destructive, misguided and counterproductive.

The Bureau of Land Management faces a complex task of balancing multiple uses of our public lands, including recreation, wildlife, clean water and grazing.  Many members of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers own ATVs, and realize that reasonable limits are critical to protecting irreplaceable resources and respecting the rights of others.  No one is above the law, simply because one disagrees with the law.

Changes, Impacts and Unintended Consequences

Book-CliffsBy BHA Utah Coordinator, Ken Theis.

Most of us, as we get older, become more resistant to change.  That is especially true when it comes to seeing changes to the hunting and fishing places we treasure.  Seldom do changes to our favorite places seem to be an improvement.  Think about it--how many places do you know where hunting or fishing is better now than it was 25 or more years ago?

Changes that impact wildlife habitat tend to occur gradually--a few houses, or another road, or maybe we notice more and more oil well pump jacks, until finally we are left to look back and wonder, “What happened to all the game we used to see around here?”   

A whole range of impact categories are described in the National Environmental Policy Act.  The National Environmental Policy Act was signed into law in 1970, forty-four years ago.  Recognizing the need to address public outcry of environmental degradation occurring at an ever rapid pace during the 1960’s, the Act was intended to disclose changes, or impacts, that might result from proposed federal actions. 

What good are Meetings?

Book Cliffs 3This is meeting season—the time of year when people are scrambling around making plans for the coming year, working on budgets, politicking and strategizing. In Utah, this is the most meeting-intensive time of year, when the Utah legislature is in session.

Generally speaking, most people don’t enjoy attending meetings very much. Scott Adams, the creative genius behind the comic strip, “Dilbert,” regularly lampoons the most dreaded of meetings—staff meetings--apparently having sat in on more than a few in his prior life.

But if there IS a good time of year to attend meetings, now is it. Except for a smattering of depredation deer and elk hunts and some small game, hunting season is pretty much over. Ice fishing gets a little stagnant as diminished oxygen levels makes fish sluggish the longer the flatwater is iced over. Stream fishing is pretty much limited to tail waters which can be crowded on the nicer days, but a good break from cabin fever, even if the hatches are sparse and trout-catching sparser. All this makes going to meetings a little easier to swallow, weather-permitting.

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Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters.

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