Justice Served in Oregon?

On Friday, March 10, a federal jury delivered guilty verdicts on at least one felony charge for each of four radical militants who beginning in January of 2016 staged a 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Jason Patrick and and Darryl Thorn both were found guilty of conspiring to prevent federal workers from doing their jobs at the refuge through intimidation, threat or force. Two other defendants, Duane Ehmer and Jake Ryan, were convicted of damaging federal property but acquitted of conspiracy.

“The court’s verdict is a mixed bag,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “While we’re gratified to see at least some of these lawbreakers held accountable for their actions, the jury stopped short of delivering justice across the board. Ultimately, our public lands – including the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge – belong to American citizens, and public servants such as the refuge managers and staff deserve our support and respect. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers will continue to oppose any efforts to undermine these individuals or steal our national heritage.

BHA stood at the forefront of the resistance to the occupation of Malheur, speaking out in support of America’s public lands and the federal land managers who oversee them. In October, BHA reacted with “profound disappointment” to the acquittal of a group of the anti-government extremists, including Ammon and Ryan Bundy – a veritable slap in the face to U.S. public land owner.

Longtime BHA member Mark Heckert of Washington had this to say about our public lands after witnessing the occupation firsthand:

“These lands are not ‘revenue streams’ or playgrounds for the wealthy; they are treasures bequeathed to all of us by our far-thinking ancestors and a priceless inheritance for our descendants. They speak to us across time – of real value, and the heart-filling wonder of wildness. We must stand, and stand together. These thieves covet our public lands, and if we don’t want them more, they will be stolen from under our feet.”

Watch Heckert in action at the occupation here:

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