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Lawmakers have introduced a bill to improve outdoor recreation facilities at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed areas.
The Lake Access Keeping Economies Strong (LAKES) Act has been introduced by Representatives Westerman (R-AR.), Womack (R-AR), and Huffman (D-CA.). Paired with the Senate version of the bill sponsored by Senators Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Cramer (R-N.D.), it seeks to better equip the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to meet the increased demand for outdoor recreation access while simultaneously growing the economic footprint of the outdoor industry in communities across the United States.
The LAKES Act would:
“The prioritization of public recreation access and the outdoor economy is a win for local communities and sportsmen and sportswomen alike,” said Becky Humphries, CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We applaud Representatives Westerman, Womack, and Huffman and Senators Heinrich and Cramer for their leadership on the LAKES Act. It is much-needed legislation that will bolster local economies by providing more resources to outdoor recreation through improved public access, climate resiliency, and infrastructure.”
In 2022, the outdoor recreation economy generated $1.1 trillion in gross economic output and supported over 5 million jobs across the nation. Activities such as boating, fishing, and hiking thrived and increased their contributions to the overall outdoor recreation economy by 22 percent. The LAKES Act aims to address this surge in participation by empowering the USACE to provide more resources to invest in the infrastructure, public access, and climate resilience necessary to sustain continued outdoor recreation on Corps of Engineers-managed land and water.
The LAKES Act is supported by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, American Sportfishing Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, Public Lands Alliance, International Game Fish Association, and more.
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 the future of hunting and fishing access here
The hunt-fish community delivered nearly 8,000 comments urging the BLM to deny the Ambler Road permit
Today, Hunters & Anglers for the Brooks Range celebrated a successful conclusion to the Bureau of Land Management’s 2023 comment period concerning the proposed Ambler Industrial Road in Alaska’s Brooks Range.
Supported by 40 leading outdoor businesses, brands, and organizations, the coalition helped conservation-minded hunters and anglers deliver nearly 8,000 comments urging the BLM to deny the road’s permit and highlighted the invaluable fly-in and float hunting and fishing qualities of the Brooks Range.
“Hunters, anglers, and conservationists stepped up for important habitat and their outdoor traditions during this comment period,” said Jen Leahy, Alaska program manager for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “The BLM has heard from our community and the message couldn’t be clearer: the risks for the proposed Ambler Road are significant and the project permit should be denied so future generations of hunters and anglers can know America’s most wild and remote hunting and fishing grounds.”
Known as the Ambler Road, the proposed private industrial corridor would partially bisect the home range of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, one of Alaska’s largest remaining herds.
The 211-mile industrial corridor would cross 11 major rivers and require nearly 3,000 culverts, degrading habitat and potentially impeding fish passage for species such as Arctic grayling and sheefish.
“We are fortunate to have partners across the outdoor space who believe in maintaining quality places to hunt and fish,” said Joel Webster, TRCP’s VP of Western conservation. “We appreciate that so many leading hunting and fishing brands, Alaska-based small businesses, and other conservation partners understand the urgency of this issue and the need to convince the BLM to revoke the permit for this risky project.”
The BLM is expected to issue a final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement during the first quarter of 2024, with a final permitting decision to follow in the second quarter of 2024.
“Although the comment period has concluded, Hunters & Anglers for the Brooks Range will continue to elevate the voices of the hunt-fish community until the final decision is made,” continued Leahy. The group’s online petition opposing the Ambler Road permit can be found HERE.
For more information and to become involved with Hunters & Anglers for the Brooks Range, please contact Jen Leahy at email@example.com.
Photo Credit: Glen Eberle
As the year draws to a close, we’re pleased to highlight some of our top conservation wins of 2023. We’re proud to say that hunters and anglers continue to speak out meaningfully on the issues that matter most to them. Thanks to you, and the actions of our 63 partners and 29 corporate partners, TRCP secured key victories for conservation funding, fish and wildlife habitat, and sporting access. Here are our top achievements to date in 2023.
This monumental win saw momentous safeguards issued for Bristol Bay, Alaska – home of the largest sockeye salmon run on the planet – that effectively said NO to the proposed Pebble Mine. Click here to read more.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission proposed that the state require a minimum 1-mile coastwide buffer restriction on industrial netting of Gulf menhaden to protect redfish and Gulf Coast habitat, plus more stringent penalties for net spills. Click here to read more.
The Department of the Interior and Agriculture cemented historic protections for the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area by banning federal hard rock mineral leasing for the next 20 years. Click here to read more.
New federal funding was made available to support the design and construction of wildlife crossings through the five-year, $350 million Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program. Click here to read more.
A $161 million investment to restore landscapes across the West was made by the Bureau of Land Management, allocating funds to 21 projects in 11 states. Click here to read more.
Six distinct elk, mule deer, and pronghorn migration corridors and winter ranges were conserved in south central Idaho when the Idaho BLM adopted the Bennett Hills Backcountry Conservation Area. Click here to read more.
Louisiana broke ground on the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion – America’s largest habitat restoration project to date – to promote long-term fishery health of the Gulf Shore basin. Click here to read more.
As we look ahead, we know we are only getting started. In the coming year, we remain committed to our staff and partners who work every day to create common-sense, lasting solutions — like protecting Alaska’s Brooks Range from a major industrial access corridor; directing federal agencies to digitize water and fishing access through the recently introduced MAPWaters Act; and, ensuring that the crucial Farm Bill conservation programs enjoyed by hunters and anglers are protected and adequately funded.
In 2023, TRCP once again received top ratings by charity watchdog groups Charity Navigator, GuideStar, and the Better Business Bureau. We work hard to ensure that every dollar you give goes as far as possible for conservation, and this recognition of where we stack up against other charities is very important to us.
Given all that we’ve accomplished this year to guarantee Americans quality places to hunt and fish, we hope you’ll consider supporting TRCP during this season of giving. SITKA Gear will match every dollar you give, doubling your impact towards conservation. There’s no better time to get involved in conservation and make twice the impact.
Stay in touch! Are you interested in receiving our weekly Roosevelt Report in 2024? Subscribe here.
Today, the U.S. Forest Service released a notice to prepare an environmental impact statement to amend 128 land management plans across the National Forest System that will guide future management of old growth forests. The amendment aims to establish a set of national plan components and direction for geographically defined adaptive management strategies that promote the persistence and recruitment of old-growth forest conditions across the National Forest System.
“Hunters and anglers recognize that productive, diverse, and resilient forests include old growth and young forests alike,” said Michael O’Casey, Pacific Northwest deputy director for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “And given a century of fire suppression and hotter, more variable weather, the long-term conservation and recruitment of old growth will require active stewardship in many places.”
Today’s announcement builds on Executive Order 14072, Strengthening the Nation’s Forests, Communities, and Local Economies, which was signed in April 2022 and requires the Forest Service and other federal agencies to define, inventory, assess threats to, and “develop policies to institutionalize climate-smart management and conservation strategies that address threats to mature and old-growth forests on Federal land.” EO 14072 led to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in April 2023, where the agency gave the public an opportunity to provide input on how the Forest Service should respond to the threats impacting forest health such as wildfire, insects and disease, and a changing climate through forest management activities and possible future policies.
Since April 2022, TRCP has been working with its hunt-fish partners, timber industry officials, and conservation leaders to identify opportunities to conserve old growth forests while also recognizing the importance of young forests and active stewardship to maintain forest health and wildlife habitat on national forest lands. This release kicks off a 45-day comment period where the public will have an opportunity to provide input on the proposed rule.
“Our national forests offer some of the best places for sportsmen and sportswomen to hunt and fish,” continued O’Casey. “TRCP is committed to working with our membership, partners, local governments, and the federal land management agencies to facilitate an outcome for this process that will benefit sportspeople and the fish and wildlife that rely on healthy forest systems across our public lands.”
Learn more about TRCP’s recent work on our nation’s forests HERE.
Photo Credit: Jack Lander
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