2020 brought new challenges, worries and opportunities to Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and our work. Thanks to our grassroots leaders, engaged members and hardworking staff, we were able to follow through on key priorities like the Great American Outdoors Act, the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act and the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act. Now, we’re looking forward to building on that momentum in 2021 and securing further victories for sportsmen and women in North America.
Here are a few of our New Year’s resolutions. We hope that you will join us in advocating on these issues in the coming year. To help support our work, ensure that your membership is up to date and remember us in your year-end giving!
Improve Conservation Funding
BHA encourages the Biden administration to work with Congress to appropriate increased funding for public lands, waters and wildlife. The last year has shown that America’s outdoors are a source of refuge, solace and opportunity during times of crisis. Accordingly, we advocate for increased funding levels for the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Environmental Protection Agency and other entities responsible for maintaining our public lands and waters.
Investing in conservation means investing in America. We have an opportunity to create jobs, repair infrastructure and improve access to our public lands. Right now, that’s what America needs.
Pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act
We ask the Biden administration and our legislators to work towards the swift passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which would dedicate $1.4 billion annually to state and tribal wildlife management agencies to proactively manage at-risk species and prevent their listing under the Endangered Species Act. This is commonsense legislation that will save the American taxpayer money and maintain multiple use on our public lands by preventing further population declines in key species like the Greater sage grouse, Tule elk, harlequin duck and many more.
Ensure Effective Implementation of the Great American Outdoors Act
BHA urges the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture to maintain integrity and efficacy in the implementation of funding allocations secured by the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act of 2019 and the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020, which together solidified permanent, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
We now have $900 million to spend on LWCF projects annually and a further $1.9 billion for maintenance projects for the next five years. We ask that our public land management agencies work with sportsmen and women to identify priority LWCF and maintenance backlog projects that improve opportunities for hunters and anglers.
Enhance Opportunities for Veterans
This year, we launched our Armed Forces Initiative, a program designed to benefit those men and women who have served our country by facilitating access to hunting and angling adventures. Fortuitously, Congress passed the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act in November, which established a Task Force on Outdoor Recreation for Veterans.
We ask the new secretary for Veterans Affairs to work with our public land agencies, R3 experts and sportsmen’s organizations to build on this success and work to better facilitate access to the outdoors for our returning servicemen and women.
Protect Priority Landscapes
Across North America, treasured landscapes face threats of development, mineral and petroleum exploration and degradation. From the Florida swamps to the Boundary Waters, Canadian Rockies, Tongass National Forest and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, BHA works to protect these priority landscapes for the benefit of sportsmen and women and future generations. In 2021, we will build on this work by advocating for effective legislation, administrative protections and responsible management of our natural resources.
Advocate for Responsible Development
Our public lands and waters provide multiple uses, including outdoor recreation, hunting, angling, agriculture, mining and oil and gas extraction. In 2021, we will build upon our work to ensure that extractive industries behave responsibly with our shared natural resources and coordinate with wildlife managers to protect critical habitat and migration corridors and maintain clean water.
Slow the Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease
The rise of chronic wasting disease threatens cervid populations across North America. Conservation organizations, state and national wildlife management agencies and hunters need to work together to combat the spread of this disease, protect our big game populations and educate the hunting community about this threat. We will advocate for increased funding and improved resources for our wildlife managers, work to educate hunters about CWD, and coordinate with the CWD Task Force established under the ACE Act of 2020.
Maintain Fair Chase Principles
New technologies, an expanding population and increased access to public lands all impact our fish and game species. Since 2004, BHA has worked to protect fair chase principles. Ultimately, all hunters and anglers have a duty to ensure that the ethical pursuit of fish and game is held as dearly as our own obligation to morality and citizenship. This means staying engage with state legislatures, fish and wildlife agencies and community groups to ensure that fair chase is the watchword of the hunting and angling community. We will continue that work in 2021.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible.