photo credit: Marty Sheppard
America’s 640 million acres of national public lands – including our national forests and Bureau of Land Management lands – provide hunting and fishing opportunities to millions of Americans. They represent the uniquely American values of freedom and adventure that are the envy of the world.
This is particularly true in the West, where, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 72 percent of sportsmen depend on access to public lands for hunting. Without these vast expanses of prairie and sagebrush, foothills and towering peaks, the traditions of hunting and fishing as we have known them for more than a century would be lost.
Efforts are afoot across nine Western states (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming) to wrest public lands from the federal government and put them under state ownership.
While no sportsmen would say that federal management of our lands is perfect, the idea that individual states will do a better job at running them is fundamentally flawed. States are simply not equipped to shoulder the enormous costs associated with fighting wildfires, maintaining roads and trails, treating noxious weeds and conducting habitat restoration.
The transfer of national lands to the states would result in one likely outcome: the fire sale of these lands to the highest bidder – billionaires and foreign corporations who may neither understand nor value America’s outdoor heritage. Once privatized, these lands will become off limits to most sportsmen in perpetuity. Sign the petition today.
“Our access to public lands and outdoor heritage can disappear in this lifetime. It is our duty to ensure our future generations have the public lands to carry on our outdoor traditions.”
Big game expert, Remington Country TV; owner/partner, Colorado Mountain Adventures
“Forfeiture of our federal public lands is another one of those ideas put forth by reckless politicians looking to make a short-term splash without any serious thought to the consequences of their actions. This will lead to more gates, more industrial disturbance, and less wildlife. Pardon the frankness, but this is a downright stupid idea.”
Author and TV host, MeatEater