Executive Summary (Key Points)
The Minnesota chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers oppose HF 143 & SF 372, counties no net gain of state lands policy authorization, based (in part) on the following key points/facts:
Public Lands Hunters
-There are roughly 51 million acres of land in Minnesota. About 25% of the land is in government ownership while 75% of Minnesota’s hunting land mass is in private ownership.
-Our entire North American Model of Wildlife Conservation depends on hunters being able to hunt—and they do that, more than anywhere else, on public land.
-The annual survey of hunting and fishing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the vast majority of hunters pursue game on public lands.
-Polling from after the 2016 election showed that 78 percent of Americans oppose efforts to privatize or sell public lands, including 64 percent of Trump voters.
Public Lands Hunting Facts & Threats
-The most powerful anti-hunting movement in the U.S. is the loss of places to hunt and shoot.
-We lose two million acres of open space each year to housing tracts, shopping malls, roads, logging, oil and gas development, and coal and hardrock mining. Every day, that’s 6,000 acres of a finite resource.
-Today, Minnesota has less than 4 percent of its original old-growth forest remaining. And less than 1% of Minnesota’s native prairie habitat remains.
-In Hubbard and Cass Counties, the DNR estimates about 42 square miles of pine forest have been cleared or are at elevated risk of being cleared and converted to croplands.
-In St. Louis County, tens of thousands of acres of forest habitat has been sold. This divestiture continues as Potlatch has sold or is in the process of selling over 175 parcels in the county.
-In December 2004, Boise Cascade alone sold 2.2 million acres across the country. More than ten percent of that land—309,000 acres—was in Minnesota, most of it in Itasca, Koochiching, and surrounding counties.
Public Lands Economics
-Independent estimates show that the outdoor recreation industry contributes approximately $646 billion to U.S. gross domestic product and supports 6.1 million jobs. For comparison purposes, that figure would make the outdoors industry about 10 times bigger than the coal industry.
-In Minnesota, those estimates show the economic value of outdoor recreation generating $11.6 billion in consumer spending, $3.4 billion in wages and salaries, $815 million in state and local tax revenue, and supporting 118,000 jobs.
-According to the latest national survey, Minnesota hunters spend $733 million annually with a ripple effect of $1.3 billion and Minnesota anglers spend $2.4 billion annually with a ripple effect of $4.2 billion annually.
-The DNR says deer hunters alone generate some $260 million in retail sales and pumps $458 million into the state’s economy.
-A University of Minnesota report quantified the economic benefits of public lands. One of the report’s main findings: for every dollar spent to conserve natural areas, there is return of between $1.70 and $4.40.