Do you have any thoughts on this post?
Colorado Parks and Wildlife and TRCP host two days of activities and conversations to share hunting and conservation knowledge with an underrepresented demographic in the sporting community
For many sportsmen and sportswomen, hunting is a multigenerational family tradition, passed on from fathers and mothers to their children. While this is part of what makes the activity so meaningful to many of us, it also means that it can be easy to overlook the barriers to participation faced by people who did not grow up with parents who hunted. Due to the way state wildlife agencies are currently funded in part through the sale of hunting licenses and tags, it’s critical that those of us who care about conservation find ways to share the meaning and joys of this pastime with our neighbors, friends, and non-hunting family members.
Given the long-term national trend of declining participation in hunting, connecting with growing but underrepresented populations will be key to the social and political relevance of sportsmen and sportswomen. In Colorado, the Latino population is expected to grow from 20 percent to 33 percent statewide in the next 20 years, meaning that the Centennial State should be of particular interest to hunters and conservationists hoping to build relationships in the Latino community.
That’s why earlier this month Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the TRCP partnered with Calwood, a trusted outdoor education center that has historically worked closely with Latino families, to host two days of workshops for Latino families to become more familiar with hunting, conservation, and the outdoors. Calwood has an established network of families that are engaged in learning about the outdoors, and this was a great opportunity for us to connect and offer to teach them about hunting’s role in conservation.
This type of event allows people who did not inherit a hunting tradition from their parents to learn and experience what our pastime is all about—and to hopefully spark an interest in hunting among younger generations. It also provides families the opportunity to learn together in a safe, formal educational setting, with well-organized instruction.
Ten families and approximately 50 people ranging from age 7 to 60 attended this event. Families were able to enjoy a wing-shooting clinic, .22/BB gun range, archery range, simulated pheasant field hunting clinic, and an upland and waterfowl dog demonstration. There was also a candid conversation about how hunting is a conservation tool.
These discussions were very informative. Several participants expressed their appreciation for the opportunity and shared that they hoped to teach their children the benefits of spending time outdoors for physical, mental, and emotional health. Many of the families were from urban areas and discussed the importance of green spaces and trees to their neighborhoods, observing that hunting could provide them with the opportunity to reconnect with nature.
The instant feedback from participants during the event was tremendous. Several families asked for and received information about the next steps, from identifying hunter education courses to purchasing tags and participating in mentored hunts. Several also asked how they can become volunteers to assist in putting on events like this in the future for more families to participate.
While this event was geared towards the families, it was a strong reminder to everyone involved of the truly communal aspects of hunting and of the importance of sharing with future generations our traditions of respecting the land and animals that nourish us. If only a few of those who were in attendance continue on the path to becoming lifelong hunters, our community will be benefit greatly, particularly when those individuals pass along what they learn to their own friends and neighbors.
The Colorado River Basin is once again facing scary hot and dry conditions this summer. The current Drought Monitor shows most of the Western U.S. in significant drought, but the Southwest looks the worst:
For the Colorado River Basin, this year is like many since 2002—a period that scientists are now calling the Millennium Drought. About 40 million people rely on this system for drinking water, while most Americans eat vegetables produced in the region’s fields. Many of us also take joyful advantage of hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation across the Basin’s vast public lands, including ten national parks.
For all of us, the fact that the Colorado’s large storage reservoirs are only about one-third full is cause for alarm and a reminder that the changing climate has real consequences—for tourism, outdoor recreation businesses, agriculture, and American homes. As a result of agreements reached over the course of the last 15 years, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will formally make a water shortage declaration later this year that will require substantial reductions in water deliveries, mostly in Arizona.
A new report, Ten Strategies for Climate Resilience in the Colorado River Basin, offers a set of actions that would allow those who live in or rely on the Basin to adapt, reduce pressure on water supplies, and strengthen local economies, all while building climate resilience. These actions, which range from the proven to the emerging and theoretical, would take the Basin well beyond the important water conservation and recycling measures that cities in the Basin have already initiated. And for each strategy, the report identifies potential sources of funding, although significantly more investment will be necessary.
These strategies include:
Implementation of these strategies may be challenging and will require change. For example, multiple federal agencies that usually operate in their own silos would have to work together. It will also be important to involve state, local, and tribal governments and to make clear that, when it comes to strategies that may be deployed on private lands, they are voluntary measures—not mandates. Still, taken together, these strategies may help preserve agricultural viability in the Southwest into the future.
Decision-makers will need to weigh the costs, technical feasibility, and political will for moving bold actions like these strategies forward. However, with the president and Congress considering major investments in America’s infrastructure, there can be no better time to secure financial and policy support for these measures.
But we as sportsmen and sportswomen must be engaged in this process. Our ability to advance significant improvements in the management of the Colorado River system thus far is a testament to the power of partnerships. And the hunting, fishing, and conservation community—including the nonprofits behind this report—is prepared to dig in with the Basin’s private landowners, local communities, and government officials at every level to take the next steps. Together, we must adapt the system to a changing climate and build toward long-term climate resilience, while looking out for our fish, wildlife, and economy along the way.
USDA to restore conservation safeguards and invest in sustainable economic development in Southeast Alaska
The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership celebrated today’s news that the Forest Service will pursue a new management approach for 9.2 million acres of public land in Southeast Alaska that will prioritize the region’s biggest economic engines, local values, and overwhelming public opinion.
Pairing the restoration of conservation safeguards with new, robust investments in the region’s economic development, the decision was welcomed by local communities and various stakeholders as a balanced solution that promises a sustainable future for a region widely regarded as some of the richest fish and wildlife habitat in Alaska. Among other things, USDA’s new strategy will reverse of one of last year’s biggest conservation setbacks and ensure that the Tongass National Forest will remain an iconic hunting and fishing destination.
“Today’s development marks a major step toward restoring conservation safeguards and shifting to more sustainable forest management practices on the Tongass National Forest,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We appreciate this leadership by USDA, and look forward to the timely reinstatement of the Roadless Rule on the Tongass, which will conserve some of Alaska’s most productive fish and wildlife habitat while also allowing for community development projects and cultural uses.”
Roadless Rule protections were rolled back in 2020 despite overwhelming public opposition to the exemption.
The USDA is anticipated to outline several key steps it will take moving forward:
“The industries that contribute the most to Southeast Alaska’s economy—such as commercial fishing, recreation, and tourism—rely on the conservation of our remaining old-growth forests and watersheds within the Tongass,” said Jen Leahy, Alaska field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “It’s exciting to see the Forest Service invest in new strategies that align with the values and priorities of rural Alaskans. The TRCP is committed to helping the Forest Service manage the Tongass in a way that conserves vital fish and wildlife habitat, allows for sustainable second growth forest management, and boosts the resiliency of our communities.”
Photo Credit: Ben Matthews
Bipartisan public land access bill gets unanimous approval in House committee
The House Natural Resources Committee has passed important legislation to create comprehensive digital mapping records for recreational access opportunities on public land.
The Modernizing Access to our Public Land Act received a markup in the House Natural Resources Committee and passed with unanimous support. With only a few minor technical modifications, the bill will now be referred to the floor for consideration by the full chamber.
“We thank the members of the committee for supporting this legislation, which has become a top-line priority for hunters and anglers across the country,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Sportsmen and sportswomen are counting on the House to bring this bill to an expeditious vote so that this important work can begin as soon as possible.”
Introduced in the House and Senate earlier this year with bipartisan support, the MAPLand Act would direct federal land management agencies to consolidate, digitize, and make publicly available all recreational access information in a format that can be used with computer mapping programs and GPS applications.
These records include information about:
• legal easements and rights-of-way across private land;
• year-round or seasonal closures of roads and trails, as well as restrictions on vehicle-type;
• boundaries of areas where special rules or prohibitions apply to hunting and shooting;
• and areas of public waters that are closed to watercraft or have horsepower restrictions.
“Without a doubt, the loss of access is one of the most pressing issues facing today’s hunters and anglers,” said Fosburgh. “Our community appreciates the leadership shown by lawmakers from both parties to help move the MAPLand Act. We are encouraged by the bill’s progress, and we will continue to speak in support of this commonsense investment in public land recreational opportunities.”
Photo: Craig Okraska/Maven
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.Learn More