Public Lands Sportsmen Commend Decision to Conserve Maine Backcountry Lands

News for Immediate Release
Aug. 24, 2016
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262, [email protected]

BHA stresses need for sportsmen to help develop management plan that includes hunting and fishing

MISSOULA, Mont. - Backcountry Hunters & Anglers commended an administration decision to conserve lands in Maine's North Woods via designation of a national monument, stressing the importance of the collaborative process that resulted in the designation and the need for engagement by public lands sportsmen to ensure that hunting and fishing feature prominently in the monument's management, an outcome that the Interior Department has committed to achieving.

The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument comprises more than 87,000 acres and includes lands donated to the federal government by private landowners, a donation that is complemented by millions of dollars to address management expenses and infrastructure development. The area is rich with diverse species of fish and wildlife and encompasses valuable game habitat and fisheries.

BHA President and CEO Land Tawney roundly praised the decision to conserve these backcountry lands.

"Maine's North Woods not only provide habitat to innumerable species of fish and game; they also are home to some of our nation's oldest and most revered backcountry traditions," said Tawney. "For centuries hunters and anglers have enjoyed access to these lands, and thanks to collaborative efforts by stakeholders - including sportsmen and private landowners, as well as the federal government – many of these lands and the outdoor legacy they offer can be sustained in perpetuity.

"In this day in age where there is talk of privatizing our public lands," Tawney continued, "landowners like Lucas St. Clair and Roxanne Quimby deserve thanks, both for their generosity and for establishing a new paradigm for land conservation through private philanthropy."

BHA's New England chapter underscored the importance of sportsmen remaining actively involved during formulation of a management plan for the monument. A series of listening sessions will be held in the region beginning in September to enable members of the public to provide recommendations and input.

"Sportsmen and women who hunt and fish the backcountry have good reason to applaud the permanent protection of this important region of Maine's North Woods," said Robert Bryan, co-chair of BHA's New England chapter, who lives in Harpswell, Maine. "Our advocacy will be critical, however, as a usage plan for the area is developed. The historical Maine Woods traditions of backcountry hunting and fishing must be formally incorporated into the majority of the monument's area, thereby upholding the cultural, recreational and economic value of this region for ours and future generations to enjoy. We welcome today's announcement and look forward to remaining actively involved in the work to come."

America's national monuments not only enable long-term conservation of cultural sites and scientifically valuable resources; they also can conserve some of the best hunting and fishing in America. To do this, however, monument designations must be pursued in a way that considers the priorities and values of sportsmen. Earlier this year, BHA and sportsmen partners released a report, National Monuments: A Sportsmen's Perspective, that addresses our community's stake in national monument designations.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen's voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.


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