BHA Continues Push for Permanent Protection of the Owyhee Canyonlands

For Immediate Release

Feb. 2, 2024 

Contact: Thomas Plank, 303-720-0111 [email protected] 

BHA Continues Push for Permanent Protection of the Owyhee Canyonlands  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) along with partner hunting and angling organizations engaged key decision-makers in Washington, D.C. to push for the permanent conservation of the Owyhee Canyonlands. Located in eastern Oregon’s Malheur County, the Owyhee Canyonlands represent one of the largest intact expanses of wilderness quality lands in the contiguous United States.  

“For years BHA has supported a community-driven, collaborative process that would permanently protect the Owyhee Canyonlands and the opportunities they provide for hunters and anglers," said Patrick Berry, BHA's President and CEO. “With increasing pressure on this vast expanse of truly wild lands and waters it is more critical than ever that we achieve meaningful conservation action to protect these unique fish and wildlife values.” 

The remarkable wild landscape of the Owyhee Canyonlands is home to sagebrush flats and sheer canyons cut by the winding Owyhee River. These features provide habitat for big game such as bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk and pronghorn, upland birds like greater sage-grouse, California quail and chukar partridge, and both brown trout and native redband trout.  

BHA continues to support Sen. Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) Malheur CEO Act, which advanced out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last December. This legislation would designate more than one million acres of wilderness in the Owyhee Canyonlands while maintaining public access. It would also establish a group tasked with developing consensus-based decisions regarding the region's management, including a representative for sportsmen and women.   

“In addition to supporting Sen. Wyden’s Malheur CEO Act, we encourage the Biden administration to use their authority under the Antiquities Act to designate a national monument,” said Kaden McArthur, BHA’s Government Relations Manager. “Should Congress fail to act, a national monument designation would be able to protect the fish and wildlife resources of the Owyhee Canyonlands while reflecting the values of hunters and anglers.” 

BHA has consistently advocated for America’s national monuments system and the targeted use of key federal conservation tools such as the Antiquities Act to permanently conserve the natural heritage and distinctive values of places like the Owyhee Canyonlands. 

Key to achieving this outcome is a process that is locally driven, transparent, incorporates the science-based management of habitat, and upholds existing hunting and fishing opportunities. Additional information can be found at National Monuments: A Hunting and Fishing Perspective. 

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife. 

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