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Thanks to everyone that keeps showing us why you’re #PublicLandsProud!
A big congratulations to Sean Deines of North Carolina who is taking home a new pair of Costa Sunglasses for this winning photo of a trout from the Great Smoky Mountains.
Here’s the story behind the pic:
While my wife and I were on the road back to western North Carolina after a friend’s wedding weekend in Nashville, we came to a detour where a rockslide had taken out I-40 with all traffic being diverted toward the Big Creek area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This stretch of water has always held a spot close to my heart, so I thought Why not make the most of a detour and do some fly fishing? Rebekah had some work that she could finish at one of the picnic tables in the campground, so it was a win-win for both of us.
That’s how I happened to snap this photo.
Fishing in Big Creek has never really been about the actual fishing for me. It’s one of those spots where you can sit down for hours and just stare at the riverscape in front of you without even picking up your rod. But when you do decide to pick it up, the gems at the end of the line are some of the prettiest fish I’ve seen in the southern Appalachians. Typically, I fish with a dry-dropper there, but I also love casting a solo caddis fly. You can always expect some explosive takes off the surface.
I spend a lot of my time outdoors, and with that comes a lot of use of public lands. Without that ability to access these resources, a lot of my favorite activities would be challenging, if not impossible, to pursue. Conservation of these wild places needs to be top priority for everyone. The world already has too many shopping complexes and movie theaters. We need people focused on the experiences of life, not the things you can buy. We NEED the wild.
Have a proud public lands picture to share? Tag with #PublicLandsProud and you’re entered into the contest. Full details here.
The TRCP’s scouting report on sportsmen’s issues in Congress
Both the Senate and the House will be in session from Monday through Friday this week.
Last week was all about the Pope’s arrival and Speaker John Boehner’s exit, so now it’s time to get a budget deal done. Boehner’s abrupt decision to resign the Speakership and his seat in Congress, effective on October 30, clears the way for a short-term agreement to fund the government through December 11. This short-term continuing resolution provides Congress with a two-month extension to make a lasting bipartisan budget deal.
Last week, a spending bill that would fund the government but defund Planned Parenthood was sent to the Senate floor. Unsurprisingly, this effort was voted down and Leader McConnell has scheduled a vote for Monday at 5:30pm on a “clean” continuing resolution that will meet the September 30 deadline and fund the government through the second week of December. The House is expected to pass the clean CR later this week.
All signs indicate that the Land and Water Conservation Fund will not see floor time and will be allowed to expire as of the end of the month. At this point, appropriators can still use the fund for conservation projects, but offshore oil and gas royalties will stop coming in to refill the coffers for future investments in public access to America’s natural resources.
After celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day on Saturday, we’ll be happy to avoid a government shutdown—for now—that could impede sportsmen’s access at one of the best times of the year to get outdoors.
What We’re Tracking
Tuesday, September 29, 2015:
The EPA, in the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee hearing on President Obama’s clean air initiative
Federal forest management, in a House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing
Proposed improvements to the Endangered Species Act, in a Senate Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife hearing
Pipeline safety, as examined by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security
Wednesday, September 30, 2015:
The Clean Water Rule, in a Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water hearing
Energy development, as the House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on states’ authority in regards to resource management
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, as the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment checks in on progress
Thursday, October 1, 2015
The Gold King Mine spill, in a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee hearing on the EPA’s flub*
Sodium production on public lands, as discussed by the Senate Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining
*Just for fun: Read how Durango-area brewers have created a special orange-tinted “Heavy Metal Extra Pale Ale”—or EPA, for short—to raise money for the Community Emergency Relief Fund (CERF). The fund donates to individuals whose businesses were financially impacted by the spill—almost exclusively in the river rafting industry, according to the Durango Herald.
National Hunting and Fishing Day is this Saturday, and while there seems to be a national holiday for just about everything—National Ice Cream Day, National Beer Day, National Talk Like a Pirate Day, National Moldy Cheese Day—a day honoring our uniquely American outdoor lifestyle and traditions is one that our staff can really get behind. (If you get more fired up about moldy cheese, no judgment, but join us sometime at the archery range. We’d love to change your mind.)
This weekend, we hope you get outside and enjoy the outdoors with friends and family, but also reflect on the major contributions that hunters and anglers have made towards conservation—Tuesday’s ruling on the status of greater sage grouse was just the most recent wildlife win where outdoorsmen had an assist.
The founders of conservation in North America (I’m looking at you, Theodore Roosevelt) implemented a system of science-based wildlife management to ensure the future of many of the species we pursue today. And in 1971, when Sen. Thomas McIntyre (D-N.H.), introduced Joint Resolution 117 authorizing National Hunting and Fishing Day on the fourth Saturday of every September. An identical measure was introduced in the House by Rep. Bob Sikes (D-Fla.), and both were passed in 1972.
On May 2, 1972, President Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, urging all citizens to join with sportsmen in the “wise use of our natural resources,” thereby “insuring their proper management for future generations.”
Each year since, more than 3,000 hunting- and fishing-related events have been held by national, state, and local organizations to give people of all ages access to traditional outdoor sports—some for the very first time. This year, from casting instruction on neighborhood ponds to free courses at public shooting ranges, there are activities planned and publicized in more than 20 U.S. states.
We want to know how you plan to spend National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 26. Get in touch or tag us in your photos on social media. And if you take advantage of our country’s unrivaled public lands this weekend, give a shout out with the hashtag #PublicLandsProud. You could win a pair of Costa sunglasses, and we’ll repost our favorite photos, posts, and tweets. Find out more here.
If you want to protect sportsmen’s access to our federal public lands for the next 100 years of National Hunting and Fishing Days, consider signing our petition. We’re trying to get at least 25,000 names! Now, that would be something to celebrate.
For more information on National Hunting and Fishing Day, click here.
As an angler and a bird hunter, I cherish opportunities to float Oregon’s beautiful rivers and explore my state’s wide open spaces. Part of that exploration process is poring over maps or using my GPS to navigate the polygons of privately- and publicly-owned land to find the places I can access. Until a couple of years ago, I didn’t know that the Land and Water Conservation Fund is responsible for some of our state’s best public access. Now that I understand what LWCF does, and why it’s so important to fish and wildlife, I’ve been working to rally support for reauthorizing this critical fund, which is due to expire at the end of the month. And I’m not alone. Recently, 114 hunting and fishing industry business leaders voiced their support for the LWCF. Read on to find out why Fishpond founder Johnny LeCoq felt so strongly about signing our letter to Congress.
First, a brief history. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established in 1965 as a bipartisan commitment to a simple idea: Invest a small portion of federal offshore drilling fees towards protecting important land, water, and recreation areas for all Americans to support the outdoor economy. Since its inception, the fund has been used to invest over $16 billion in conservation and outdoor recreation, including the establishment of new public fishing areas, new corridors into previously inaccessible public lands, conservation easements and the acquisition of new public land parcels for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and the sporting public.
Find out about projects funded in your state by clicking here.
This fund is due to expire, and without reauthorization from Congress, we will lose critical conservation dollars. This July, I attended IFTD to build business support for LWCF. At the show, I met Johnny LeCoq, founder and CEO of Fishpond and Lilypond, which are brands designed and manufactured for the fishing and outdoor enthusiast. Johnny has created his company with the philosophy that innovation, design, and a responsibility towards the environment are critical to the success of his business.
Johnny knows why LWCF is so important and why Congress needs to fully fund it. This is what he had to say at the North American Wildlife Conference last year:
“The economics behind LWCF demands that we get the full funding appropriated for our natural resources. It is critical to my own business that depends on our watersheds, and just as important to every individual that values our open space, and public access for so many forms of recreation and enjoyment. The public access component of LWCF is crucial for the future of our hunting and fishing industry,” he said.
Here’s the vision Johnny shared for the next 50 years of conservation work in America: One of collaboration. No longer can we look to Washington or our state governments to pave the necessary path for a sustainable future. We need to create private-public partnerships that leverage the strength of both sectors. From businesses like Fishpond to the private landowners who are willing to place their farmland or ranchland into conservation easements, we need to find valuable partners who will help tell the story of how our public lands and waters are linked to a growing economy and uniquely American way of life.
Johnny encouraged the entire Outdoor Recreation Industry, where thousands of companies are represented, to help lead the push for full funding of LWCF—and not to stop there. “It is the responsibility of these American businesses to use the power of their consumer reach to raise additional funds to augment a shortfall of the hundreds of millions of dollars in conservation needs,” he said. “Government funding and taxes alone will not be enough to get us through our environmental challenges, and it will be important for companies like Fishpond to creatively join forces with government and non-profit groups to collaboratively reach our goals.”
If you’re like me and Johnny, please tell Congress to fully and permanently reauthorize the LWCF and protect hunting, fishing, and the recreational industry for years to come. It’s easy to do. Just click here.
Recently, 114 hunting and fishing industry business leaders, voiced their support for the LWCF. Read on to find out why Fishpond founder Johnny LeCoq felt so strongly about signing our letter to Congress.
In the last two years, policymakers have committed to significant investments in conservation, infrastructure, and reversing climate change. Hunters and anglers continue to be vocal about the opportunity to create conservation jobs, restore habitat, and boost fish and wildlife populations. Support solutions now.Learn More