Colorado BHA Friends,
The Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers 8th annual Rendezvous is scheduled for June 3-5, 2016. We’ll be setting up camp in the San Isabel National Forest west of Salida/Poncha Springs (see Maps 1 & 2 below for detailed directions) and have reserved a group camping area (known locally as the “goat wadi”) for the weekend.
[Directions (also see more detailed MAP 2 below): From the East, drive towards Monarch Pass, past Salida. Go through Poncha Springs and head toward Maysville. You will see a yellow house on the right and River Suites cabins. Go another 1.5 to 2 miles west and watch for a dirt road on the right near a curve. That’s County Road 224. Follow CR 224 for around 1.5 miles, past the ranch on the left, and the Rendezvous site will be on the right.]
Camp will be located in an open, level, high-mountain meadow covering about 6 acres at 10,000 feet in the Sawatch Range west of Salida and south of the 167,414-acre Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. This is a beautiful in-timber setting (i.e., plenty of shade) next to the Colorado Trail with endless hiking opportunities.
Nearby fishing locales include the Arkansas River at Browns Canyon, which was designated a National Monument by President Obama (on 2/19/15) after more than two decades of effort by hunters, anglers, rafters, hikers and other outdoorsmen and women. See link for additional information on/photos of Browns Canyon: http://share.shutterfly.com/share/received/welcome.sfly?fid=0bd30b4005a6f640&sid=8Acs2LhkzbNlF6E
Colorado BHA Chapter Award Winners
Bill Sustrich, of Salida, recognized for leading Colorado BHA’s campaign to protect 22,000 acres of low-elevation big game habitat in the Browns Canyon area between Buena Vista and Salida as wilderness/a national monument. Bill (a U.S. Navy/WW II veteran) raised a family of four youngsters on deer, elk and trout he shot and caught in wild places like Browns Canyon, and has been one of Colorado’s staunchest advocates for its protection. In Bill’s words: “The fact is, nothing yet created by mankind can offer the degree of wildlife refuge as that provided by wilderness designation.”
Paul Vertrees, of Cañon City, recognized for a history of BHA activism, including attending multiple national forest resource/travel management meetings, writing letters-to-editors and op-eds supporting stronger enforcement of ATV/OHV laws and regulations, and generally working seemingly non-stop to protect public lands habitat from numerous threats. Paul is a U.S. Army veteran, fifth-generation Coloradan, traditional hunter and angler, Colorado BHA Habitat Watchman volunteer (for the Pike National Forest) and a father. In his words, “As a man raising a family, I value our wild and roadless backcountry, not only for myself and my family, but also for what it means for millions of other Colorado residents.”
Paul is also one of only a handful of certified professional Tenkara guides in the state of Colorado. His writing and photographs have appeared online on his personal blog, Tenkara Tracks, with guest articles for Tenkara USA, on Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, in the Backcountry Journal, and most recently in the book Tenkara Fly Fishing: Insights and Strategies, to which Paul was a contributing writer/angler. For additional information see: http://www.tenkaratracks.com
Support LWCF reauthorization
To the editor,
At the end of this month, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is set to expire, unless reauthorized by Congress. Established in 1964 through a bipartisan act of Congress, the LWCF uses royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf to conserve important natural resources and expand public lands access. Funding comes from a maximum of $900 million in royalty payments collected annually from oil and gas companies, not from taxpayer dollars.
The LWCF enables sportsmen access to millions of acres of public lands – and has expanded access to millions more – all while strengthening quality habitat for fish and game. Colorado has received more than $230 million in LWCF funding for 974 projects. Those grants typically are matched by an equal amount of state or local funding, thus doubling the federal investment. The Ophir Valley of the Uncompahgre National Forest, Great Sand Dunes National Park, the wildlife refuge complex of the San Luis Valley ecosystem, and the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument are past beneficiaries of LWCF matching contributions in our state.
Studies have found that every dollar invested in land acquisition or improvement generated a $4 return on the investment for communities. And U.S. sportsmen comprise a powerful economic engine, annually contributing close to $90 billion to the nation’s economy and supporting 1.5 million jobs. The broader outdoor recreation and conservation economy is responsible for more than $600 billion in consumer spending every year.
Recently, LWCF funds have been used to acquire the 11,179-acre Devil’s Canyon Ranch in Wyoming, a premier hunting area with important herds of bighorn sheep, mule deer and elk; to protect the working forests around Wisconsin’s Chippewa Flowage, one of that state’s most pristine lakes and best trophy fisheries; to secure habit in the Dakota grasslands for more than 100 breeding birds, including 12 waterfowl species – a region that has been described as America’s “duck factory;” to protect the confluence of the Ohio and Tradewater Rivers in Kentucky – an action that is providing significant watershed and water quality improvement to the benefit of public hunting and fishing.
According to report from the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation, lack of public access is the number one reason why sportsmen quit hunting. A loss of federal LWCF funding for public access easements and public land acquisition will only further this problem. And as rural lands across the country continue to disappear, public access to federal lands will become increasingly important. LWCF funds play a vital role in “unlocking” millions of federal acres currently unavailable to sportsmen. LWCF is essential to make public lands public by securing recreation access, particularly where opportunities for sportsmen and others to access public lands are limited or precluded.
As explained by Backcountry Hunters & Angler’s President and CEO, Land Tawney: “LWCF is the best tool available to provide access for hunters and anglers, as well as habitat conservation to make sure sportsmen have something to chase once we get there. The program invests in the conservation of fish and wildlife habitat and enhances recreational access, which means more rewarding days afield for America’s hunters and anglers.”
For additional information on how LWCF funds have benefited Coloradans, see: www.lwcfcoalition.org/co lorado.html.
– David Lien, chairman, Colorado Backcountry
Hunters & Anglers