As the pandemic drags on and our elected officials are faced with tough decisions about how to stimulate the economy while addressing growing budget shortfalls, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is calling on decision-makers to further invest in one of the few economic sectors that is steadily growing – The Great Outdoors.
With few other alternatives for socially distant leisure activities available in town, millions of new and lapsed sportsmen and women of diverse backgrounds and economic means are picking up a hunting or fishing license and heading out to our publicly accessible lands. In addition to giving hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists the freedom to roam, time spent immersed in our wild lands is being recommended by medical professionals to those struggling with mental health during these trying times. The outdoors is also provides us, young and old alike, with a much-needed respite from computer screens and the confines of the home.
Thankfully, there is bipartisan agreement that investing in conservation is a smart political bet. The historic passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, or GAOA, is case in point. Attempts by the Trump administration to divert these newly created funds have been met with backlash from both parties.
In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis doubled down on the investments made through GAOA with a budget proposal for the state that includes new meaningful investments in the conservation of migratory corridors, watershed restoration work and wildfire mitigation efforts. This proposal reflects the unique opportunity we have to help stimulate the economy and create needed jobs through investments in the outdoors.
BHA is calling on more state decision-makers to follow suit. By voting to support investments in public lands, conservation, and outdoor recreation, lawmakers can bolster an area of continued economic growth at a time when Americans need it most. With more public places to hunt, fish and recreate, we can ease some of the recent crowding we’ve seen at many campgrounds and boat launches and make an investment that will benefit sportsmen and women for generations to come.
Surveys consistently show overwhelming support from voters for additional conservation and recreation funding Yet, in certain states, such as Pennsylvania, some decision-makers are attempting to raid conservation funding for other purposes, when investments in the outdoors are more crucial than ever.
As appropriators craft state budgets across the country during a time of considerable fiscal strain, it’s imperative that BHA members and supporters remind decision-makers of the need to invest in our shared public lands estate.
We’ve made it easier than ever to do that. Click here to contact your legislators and governor. Tell them why investing in the outdoors in your area is important to you.