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July 2, 2024

road into wildlife refuge

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June 28, 2024

BLM Decision Will Maintain Safeguards for 28 Million Acres of Public Lands in Alaska

The agency’s recommendation would conserve valuable habitat for salmon, caribou, moose, and Dall sheep  

Today, the Bureau of Land Management moved to retain conservation safeguards on 28 million acres of public lands in Alaska, including large swaths of intact fish and wildlife habitat that offer world-class hunting and fishing opportunities.

“We welcome the BLM’s intent to maintain conservation measures that have stood for decades on these public lands in Alaska,” said Jen Leahy, Alaska senior program manager for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We urge the BLM to finalize this decision in a timely manner so hunters and anglers don’t have to worry about these incredible public hunting and fishing grounds being privatized and developed.”

The 28 million acres encompassed in the decision includes important winter range for the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, one of Alaska’s largest caribou herds, and renowned hunting and fishing habitat in other areas of the state, including Bristol Bay—home to the world’s most prolific sockeye salmon fishery—and moose country in the Yukon and Kuskokwim watersheds. Alaska’s “D-1” public lands are also adjacent to many celebrated and remote rivers that anglers and hunters enjoy floating.


The TRCP is your no-B.S. resource for all things conservation. In our weekly Roosevelt Report, you’ll receive the latest news on emerging habitat threats, legislation and proposals on the move, public land access solutions we’re spearheading, and opportunities for hunters and anglers to take action. Sign up now.

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BLM Decision Will Prevent Proposed Ambler Road in Alaska’s Brooks Range  

The agency’s record of decision maintains America’s most wild and remote hunting and fishing grounds 

Today, the Bureau of Land Management released its Record of Decision that will prevent the proposed Ambler Industrial Road in Alaska’s Brooks Range.

“Today’s decision is a victory for the local residents, Alaska Native Tribes, and the more than 14,000 conservation-minded hunters and anglers from across the country who championed for the enduring, wild qualities of the Brooks Range,” said Jen Leahy, Alaska senior program manager for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We thank the BLM for recognizing the importance of these public lands to hunters and anglers, and for basing this critical decision on the best available science and robust public engagement.”

The ROD follows the agency’s final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, released April 19, in which the BLM selected the “No Action” alternative indicating the agency’s intent to prevent the proposed industrial corridor.

Known as the Ambler Road, the proposed private industrial corridor has received national opposition. The 211-mile corridor would have partially bisected the home range of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, one of Alaska’s largest herds.

Caribou from the Western Arctic Herd. Photo Courtesy of Jim Dau.

“The recent decision to deny the proposed Ambler Road permit is an unequivocal win for the declining Western Arctic Caribou Herd that will keep, at least temporarily, its home range intact,” said Jim Dau, retired Western Arctic Caribou Herd biologist with Alaska Department of Fish & Game. “Caribou rarely use their entire range in any one year; however, over the course of decades, they use – and need – their entire range. This is increasingly important in a rapidly warming Arctic. What’s good for caribou is also good for the people who value or depend on them.”

“This decision is a great step toward ensuring that current and future generations have the opportunity to experience this majestic, unbroken landscape,” said Lewis Pagel, owner of Arctic Fishing Adventures in Kotzebue, Alaska. “The Brooks Range truly is a place like no other.”  

The project would have also crossed 11 major rivers and required nearly 3,000 stream crossings, degrading habitat and potentially impeding fish passage for important subsistence and sportfishing species such as sheefish.

Angler with sheefish. Photo courtesy of Greg Halbach.

“Brooks Range rivers will remain remote and wild because of this decision,” said fly fishing guide Greg Halbach of Remote Waters in Anchorage, Alaska. “We needed hunters and anglers from all over the country to speak out against the Ambler Road and they did. Because of this collective effort, I will continue to have the privilege and opportunity to immerse my clients in a wild landscape unlike any other.”   

The proposed Ambler Road prompted strong resistance from the hunting and fishing community. In 2023, more than 40 Alaska-based businesses, leading outdoor brands, and conservation organizations launched Hunters & Anglers for the Brooks Range. The collective—which includes guides, outfitters, and transporters who operate in the Brooks Range—urged the BLM to deny the permit for the private industrial corridor. To date, the coalition has delivered more than 14,000 individual letters to the agency opposing the Ambler Road.

“With this victory comes a renewed sense of commitment from the hunting and fishing community to safeguard America’s most remote hunting and fishing grounds.” 

Jen Leahy, Alaska senior program manager for the TRCP

As expected, development interests have wasted no time attacking the BLM’s decision. Ambler Road proponents have reportedly included an amendment in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act that would rescind the BLM’s decision and force the Department of the Interior to permit the Ambler Road. This effort will be met with strong resistance as conservation-minded hunters and anglers defend the BLM’s decision.

“With this victory comes a renewed sense of commitment from the hunting and fishing community to safeguard America’s most remote hunting and fishing grounds,” said Leahy. “The Brooks Range is a treasured destination for hunters and anglers, and we will stand guard to defend this iconic and wild landscape from emerging and future threats.”

Learn more about Hunters & Anglers for the Brooks Range HERE.


The TRCP is your no-B.S. resource for all things conservation. In our weekly Roosevelt Report, you’ll receive the latest news on emerging habitat threats, legislation and proposals on the move, public land access solutions we’re spearheading, and opportunities for hunters and anglers to take action. Sign up now.

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June 26, 2024

Hunters and Anglers Cheer House Introduction of the Bipartisan ACE Reauthorization Act  

Lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill to boost funding and provide crucial enhancements to conservation programs benefiting fish and wildlife.

The America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Reauthorization Act of 2024 was introduced in the House on Friday June 21, 2024. The ACE Reauthorization Act is sponsored by Representatives Wittman (R-Va.), Kiggans (R- Va.), Dingell (D-Mich.), and Thompson (D-Calif.), and would reauthorize multiple programs that benefit hunting and angling including, the National Fish Habitat Partnership, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the Chesapeake Bay Program, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This reauthorization provides technical improvements and administrative streamlining to improve these programs. It also helps address threats like chronic wasting disease

Earlier this year in a bipartisan vote, the U.S. Senate passed companion legislation, that paved the way for legislation to be introduced in the House.  

“The America’s Conservation Enhancement Reauthorization Act will benefit fish and wildlife while enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities for millions of hunters and anglers,” said Becky Humphries, CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, “TRCP applauds Representatives Wittman, Kiggans, Dingell, and Thompson for their leadership on this important bipartisan legislation and we look forward to building on the success of these crucial conservation programs through increased funding levels that will benefit our sporting traditions for years to come.” 

The original ACE Act was passed in 2020 and sponsored by Representatives Wittman and Thompson. Many of its authorizations will expire in 2025, necessitating the passage of the ACE Reauthorization Act to ensure these vital conservation programs can continue to operate in good legal standing.  

The legislation is endorsed by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Ducks Unlimited, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the National Wildlife Federation, American Sportfishing Association, the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and the National Audubon Society. 

The TRCP looks forward to working with the House of Representatives to ensure that this essential legislation for hunters and anglers reflects the authorization increases in the Senate version and becomes law.  

TRCP works to maintain and strengthen the future of hunting and fishing by uniting and amplifying our partners’ voices in conserving and restoring wildlife populations and their habitat as challenges continue to evolve.   

Learn more about TRCP’s commitment to healthy habitat and clean water here. 

Photo: James Wicks

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TRCP Celebrates New Wildlife Management Areas in the Final Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests Plan

823,000 acres of Wildlife Management Areas a positive step to limit disturbance of sensitive big game habitats and migratory routes

Recently, the U.S. Forest Service finalized a revised Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests Plan after nearly a decade of planning and public input.

The new GMUG Forests Plan sets the guidelines that Forest Service staff must follow when planning and managing for multiple uses across over 3 million acres of national forest in southwest Colorado. This new plan enables the Forest Service to utilize the most up to date science to inform multiple-use management decisions, such as wildlife habitat improvement projects, timber harvest, road and trail development, off road vehicle use, fire mitigation, wildfire response, and disease management.

“The TRCP joins Colorado’s hunters and anglers in thanking the Forest Service for establishing 823,000 acres of Wildlife Management Areas and adding Rocky Mountain and Desert Bighorn sheep to the GMUG’s list of Species of Conservation Concern,” said Liz Rose, Colorado field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “These concrete management priorities will ensure the big game species that rely on the Forests are conserved.”

Within the new WMAs, Forest staff must consider wildlife habitat function and connectivity when making management decisions. In an attempt to minimize habitat loss and provide a minimum threshold of security habitat for big game and other wildlife, the final plan has set a cap on the total miles of Forest Service roads and trails that can be built within each WMA. Establishing a total route density limit for WMAs is valuable to influence future project-level decisions that prevent road and trail construction through the most sensitive habitats, ensuring that habitat connectivity and function remains at the forefront of management considerations.

“I’d like to personally thank TRCP members and supporters who attended public meetings and submitted comments to the USFS regarding the GMUG Forests Plan revision during the scoping period in 2017, on the draft plan in 2019, and during the objection period in 2023,” continued Rose. “Taking action and describing our collective values and priorities to federal agency staff is an integral part of the planning process.”

These WMAs also set a valuable precedent for other relevant forests within Colorado and the West on how to plan responsible, multiple-use management that conserves the most sensitive big game habitats.

“We encourage other Forests to build on lessons learned to establish productive WMAs elsewhere that will capitalize on the growing body of science related to minimizing disturbance to big game and maximizing habitat connectivity and function so herds remain healthy and stable,” concluded Rose.

Learn more about TRCP’s work in Colorado HERE.


The TRCP is your no-B.S. resource for all things conservation. In our weekly Roosevelt Report, you’ll receive the latest news on emerging habitat threats, legislation and proposals on the move, public land access solutions we’re spearheading, and opportunities for hunters and anglers to take action. Sign up now.

Photo Credit: Ray F.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

CHEERS TO CONSERVATION

Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences hunting and fishing certainly fueled his passion for conservation, but it seems that a passion for coffee may have powered his mornings. In fact, Roosevelt’s son once said that his father’s coffee cup was “more in the nature of a bathtub.” TRCP has partnered with Afuera Coffee Co. to bring together his two loves: a strong morning brew and a dedication to conservation. With your purchase, you’ll not only enjoy waking up to the rich aroma of this bolder roast—you’ll be supporting the important work of preserving hunting and fishing opportunities for all.

$4 from each bag is donated to the TRCP, to help continue their efforts of safeguarding critical habitats, productive hunting grounds, and favorite fishing holes for future generations.

Learn More

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