The following Op:Ed was published by the Colorado Springs Independent on 1/7/15
Our country has an incredible and unmatched protected public lands legacy that allows hunters, anglers, hikers, backpackers, outfitters, equestrians and others the opportunity to experience parts of our country as they were in the days of Lewis and Clark and, more recently, Theodore Roosevelt. One such area is Browns Canyon, a scenic and rugged region in Chaffee County between Salida and Buena Vista on the Arkansas River.
In 2005, former Fifth Congressional District Rep. Joel Hefley, a Republican, sponsored a bill to designate Browns Canyon a national wilderness area. Unfortunately, despite continued widespread support for protecting Browns Canyon, the current partisan paralysis in Congress has prevented a wilderness bill from moving forward.
The following letter was recently printed in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel here.
It’s an interesting contrast that during the same week, when both of the Western Slope’s largest newspapers (in Durango and Grand Junction) editorialized against efforts by corporate front groups and others to turn public lands over to the states, that someone from the American Lands Council would come to Grand Junction to propose doing just that.
In case you’re not familiar with this anti-public lands group, just one example of its agenda speaks volumes: In Arizona they spearheaded an effort (Arizona Proposition 120) that purported to seize Grand Canyon National Park and all other national park lands and wilderness areas in Arizona. It was rejected by a wide margin.
Some of the same corporate special interests vigorously protested Theodore Roosevelt when he established the public estate a century ago. Thanks to Roosevelt, and those like him, today we can (as explained by Todd Tanner in Sporting Classics Daily) “fish waters worthy of kings and princes; we can walk forests that, were they to exist on any other continent, would be the sole domain of monarchs or despots or captains of industry.”
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.