The following article was orginally published here.
I've just concluded a 1300 mile tour of Southeast Oregon on behalf of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. SE Oregon is mostly public land managed by the BLM. It is an ancient land under attack by modern encroachment that is threatening wildlife habitat. Mule Deer herds have been declining for over 30 years and the Sage Grouse is under consideration for listing as an endangered species. Such a listing would severely impact public access to these lands. Fires that have decimated nearly a million acres of habitat have been a major problem, but another is illegal off-road motorized use of these public lands. I witnessed much damage in sensitive core areas supporting the Sage Grouse and photographed examples of disregard in the backcountry including trashed campsites and decimation of public lands by motorized vehicles tearing up the habitat. Public lands are not a public dump or a drag strip! Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is not an anti-ATV organization either. We are a boots-on-the-ground conservation organization working to protect our wild public lands, water, and wildlife. We also use motorized vehicles but we strongly advocate remaining on designated trails and where the road ends we hike or pack into the areas we fish and hunt.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden made a strong statement that conservation groups were anxious to hear during a Monday meeting in Bend, OR with representatives of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. When asked to speak to the importance of keeping public lands in public hands, the Senator stated the following:
“The alternative would be that federal laws, environmental laws, land management laws don’t apply any longer. I think that would be a mistake. To have our treasured federal lands run by some kind of privatized sort of approach I think would really be turning back the clock. Certainly what you would see is a body like that would not have the same kind of focus on these values we have when public lands… as hunters and anglers have always said… stay in public hands.”
To watch this exclusive interview with Senator Wyden, click here or on the image below.
Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Lars Larson interviewed Brian Jennings, Oregon’s Sportsmen’s Outreach Coordinator on Friday, July 26th. They discussed BHA’s conservation outreach, proposals for increased logging on Federally-Managed Timberlands in Oregon, and Lars’ upcoming fall hunts. The short interview, found here, was heard on 18 Oregon radio stations.
To view BHA’s position on new management of Oregon’s federally-managed forests, click here.
Photo - Lars Larson after successful Oregon spike elk hunt.
Travel management on public lands and off highway vehicle use is a complicated topic - with many arguments for and against it. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers believes that OHV's should be used lawfully and respectfully, to protect good habitat and hunting and fishing oppportunities. But, if you or a fellow outdoorsman have ever wondered
Then you might like to read our new Oregon OHV Q & A brochure: Oregon Off Highway Vehicle Q & A. And remember, you can always contact us with other questions and concerns through the "Contact" button on the front page of this site.