At BHA we recognize that members of the North American Armed Forces are a critical constituency when it comes to the defense of our wild public lands and waters. The men and women who have bravely served are to thank for the freedoms that allow North American sportsmen and women to enjoy our outdoor opportunities and traditions.
Service is and always has been core to BHA’s mission, and the values that guide us are heavily influenced by a military mindset and the personnel that are currently filling the ranks along with those who have in the past. Currently multiple military members have helped BHA become the largest stronghold of public land advocates in the continent.
BHA’s Armed Forces Initiative strives to ensure that those actively serving in active duty, national guard, reserves veterans and personnel continue to take active roles as public land owners while providing a constructive outlet for current or transitioning service members to continue selfless service and enjoy the camaraderie of likeminded individuals. Patriotism and selfless service carries on in our new mission to protect public land and water access along with the ethical chase of wildlife.
The Armed Forces Program is one of three programs in BHA, alongside the collegiate and hunting for sustainability programs. The Armed Forces Program is built on three pillars: Active Duty, Veteran, and Legislation.
- Active Duty Pillar: we are building a national network of military installation clubs. These clubs will operate as NFE’s (non federal entities) directly on, and with, the specific military installation. The installation clubs serve to solve the problem of lowering the barrier of entry of hunting and fishing to military members on or around the installation, educate and empower, and build grassroots community. As mil members PCS from one duty station to the next, our hope is they either fall into an already established club or build a new one as their duty station changes.
- Veteran Pillar: works to engage with veterans on the national and state level. This includes veteran skill camps and building relationships with state chapters for leadership engagement opportunities. These opportunities could include leading restoration projects, utilizing veteran voice in legislation issues with state chapter leadership direction, and other highlighted opportunities.
- Legislation Pillar: continues the work of the Veteran Pillar and allows for deeper engagement for veterans to use their voice in conservation. From town halls to congressional level discussion, we want our vets engaging here. Through this engagement, we’re looking to provide veterans a leadership pipeline. This includes education aspects of public speaking, understanding legislation, and providing a platform for veterans to utilize BHA as a launchpad.
BHA’s Armed Forces Initiative offers active duty military and veterans:
- An opportunity to engage in BHA’s core work to enhance public access and opportunity, conserve our public lands, waters and wildlife, and defend our fair chase hunting and fishing traditions
- A better quality of life through exposure to backcountry experiences
- The chance to experience and enjoy the mental and physical benefits of backcountry experiences
- The resources to share their backcountry experiences with other service men and women