MISSOULA, Mont. – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers applauded federal legislation passed by the Senate today which protects habitat, access and outdoor opportunity for some of America’s finest hunting lands and fishing waters.
“Today’s bipartisan action in Washington D.C. packs historic benefits for America’s outdoors families,” said Land Tawney, executive director of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. “This conservation vision represents decades of hard work by hunters and anglers and other partners to keep America’s Great Outdoors the envy of the world. This is an important day for sportsmen today and for generations to come.
Today, the Senate passed a massive bill to fund the Department of Defense which now goes to the President’s desk for final passage. Tawney highlighted several habitat conservation measures attached to that bill: the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act in Colorado; the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act and North Fork Protection Act in Montana; the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Act in New Mexico and the Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act.
“We applaud elected officials from both sides of the aisle for coming together to listen to their constituents and conserve backcountry hunting and fishing opportunities on our public lands. This is a great reminder that our public lands are priceless resource that belongs to all Americans,” said Tawney.
Colorado: Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act, San Juan National Forest:
Safeguards the headwaters of a critical native cutthroat stream, while protecting roadless security habitat for elk. The bill includes a new 37,000-acre Wilderness Area, as well as 68,000 acres of Special Management Area that would maintain existing uses, while prohibiting future industrial development.
“This bill protects a great wild headwaters habitat for trout, elk and many other species valued by hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers. It demonstrates the cooperative spirit and effectiveness of a great local effort in carefully crafting this workable legislation.”
-Dan Parkinson, Colorado BHA Board Member, Bayfield, Colorado.
New Mexico: Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act, Carson National Forest:
Officially designates 45,000 acres of lush alpine as a Wilderness Area, permanently protecting excellent hunting opportunities for elk, black bear, bighorn sheep and grouse, while keeping out motorized traffic, bulldozers and commercial development.
“Wilderness designation for the Columbine-Hondo will preserve the area’s iconic vistas of a high alpine forest laced with lush green wet meadows and streams. It is a sportsmen’s backcountry paradise in a tranquil wild landscape.”
-Oscar Simpson, Chairman of New Mexico Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Nevada: Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
Designates 70,000 acres of Wilderness Area in the Pine Forest Range and Wovoka Wilderness Areas. The areas provide good cold water fishing for both native and non-native trout species, and high quality hunting opportunities for upland game birds, mule deer and bighorn sheep.
“NV BHA is proud to have been part of a lengthy stakeholder group process resulting in Wilderness protection for the Pine Forest Range: a rare alpine high value wildlife gem in Nevada's high desert, long beloved by hunters and anglers alike."
-Karen Boeger, Nevada BHA Board Member, Washoe Valley, Nevada
Montana: Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act, Lewis & Clark National Forest
Adds 67,000 acres to the world-famous Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, while protecting habitat and traditional access on an additional 208,000 acres of Conservation Management Areas and ramps up the war on weeds over more than 400,000 acres. The Front is regarded as some of the finest big game habitat in North America, supporting nine big game species, from pronghorn to mountain goat, elk and grizzly bear. It supports the largest native herd of bighorn sheep in the United States.
"What a super day for one of the greatest intact landscapes left in the US or for that matter, the world. The conservation work done on the front be in on private or public land is simply amazing. The Heritage Act does truly protect the heritage of our area and will let future generations enjoy the landscape as so many of us have cherished for years. I cannot thank the congressional delegation enough for supporting the Crown of the Continent conservation movement. It’s simply the right thing to do."
-Roy Jacobs, BHA MT Chapter Board Member Penroy, MT.
Montana: North Fork Flathead Watershed Protection Act, Flathead National Forest
Precludes oil, gas and mineral development on 430,000 acres in the North Fork of the Flathead Watershed, in Glacier National Park and the Flathead National Forest. The North Fork is one of the world strongholds for native bull and cutthroat trout and a source of pure water for Montana’s Flathead Lake. The Flathead National Forest provides habitat for moose, elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, cougar and grizzly bear.
“On clear fall days the water is so clear, and the river rock so vibrant that a floater could mistake the place for an airbrushed magazine cover. That kind of purity is increasingly rare and must be conserved.”
- Ryan Busse, BHA board member, Kalispell, Montona
Founded in 2004, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a national organization of conservation-minded hunters and anglers with members in all 50 states.