As you know, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers continues to lead the call for better safeguards against illegal motorized habitat abuse. Whether members are helping to educate motorized users, advocating for visible identification or promoting self-policing programs, our common-sense approach to responsible motorized use is gaining attention, and results.
In Washington State, BHA members, in partnership with Trout Unlimited, recently made huge headway on this front as they helped pass legislation (HB 1632) which – in exchange for providing opportunities for improved access on some county roads – did the following:
Washington Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is working hard in support of HB 1632, a bill which would require all all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s) and utility terrain vehicles (UTV’s) to display a visible identification in exchange for limited legal road access. A portion of the revenue generated through the sale of license plates would be dedicated to a safety training program for OHV use. While the scope of road use that would be permitted by this legislation is still up for debate, there is little question that both sportsmen and wildlife stand to benefit a great deal from the visible OHV identification required by this legislation. A visible identification would remove the current anonymity that ATV users experience, while also aiding in enforcement efforts by both officers and fellow public land users.
BHA members Gregg Bafundo and Tisha Kennell are leading the effort to ensure HB 1632 passes alongside our partners at Trout Unlimited. Tisha and Gregg have worked to develop substantial support from the OHV community, which includes the Eastern Washington ATV Association, a Polaris dealership and the Gifford Pinchot OHV Alliance. WA BHA believes the resulting legislation would be a win for sportsmen, wildlife and OHV users alike and we’re doing all that we can to ensure it passes.
In an effort to identify common priorities among sportsmen, Washington Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is coordinating a series of roundtable meetings with sportsmen throughout the state. Through this process, WA BHA and a variety of sportsmen and conservation interests will work to educate Washington’s Congressional candidates about key issues affecting sportsmen. Some of the groups invited to participate include Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Trout Unlimited. Current Issues identified for discussion include:
WA Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and the sportsmen roundtable will ask that each of the candidates publicly take a position on each of these issues. With this information, it is our hope that sportsmen can make well-informed choices for the candidates who best represent their interests.
As an organization of sportsmen dedicated to protecting free access, prime backcountry habitat and the sportsmen voice, BHA will continue to ensure voters know where each candidate stands on these very important issues.
WA Chapter Looking for Volunteers to Step Up for Trail Clearing Projects in the Salmo Priest Wilderness
The Washington Trails Association (WTA), a hiking and trail advocacy group, has been partnering with equestrian groups and the Forest Service for several years to keep the trails in the northeast corner of the state’s only wilderness area in good shape for hiking, horseback riding, and hunting access. The WA chapter is looking for volunteers to represent BHA and backcountry hunters out on a wilderness trail crew or two this summer.