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October 10, 2016

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October 4, 2016

Colorado’s Lake County Opposes Transfer of America’s Public Lands to the State

This is the tenth Colorado county to join a growing movement against state takeover of national public lands, which are the lifeblood of sportsmen’s access in the West

The Board of Lake County Commissioners has passed a resolution opposing the effort to transfer or sell national public lands to the state of Colorado or local governments. This decision supports every American’s ability to hunt, fish, and recreate on public lands and underscores the conservation legacy of leaders like Theodore Roosevelt, who helped create a public lands system that is the envy of the world.

“The commission has proven its commitment to America’s public lands and they should be commended by sportsmen beyond the county limits,” says Nick Payne, Colorado field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Lake County public lands include a frontier mining district with a rich history, and the county is home to the headwaters of the Arkansas River, which is very popular with anglers and rafters. Efforts to restore and reclaim the fishery have been very successful, and more than 100 miles of the Arkansas is now recognized as a having Gold Medal status—that’s worth safeguarding for citizens.”

The county’s resolution recognizes the importance of public lands for:

  • Providing fish and wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreation—including hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife-watching, horseback riding, and bicycling—that are essential to residents’ quality of life.
  • Attracting outdoor recreation tourism that drives local spending and employs hundreds of county residents.
  • Preserving historically significant and irreplaceable cultural sites and landscapes.

It’s worth noting that the BLM’s Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan, which is currently being revised, includes Lake County backcountry lands that provide important habitat for bighorn sheep and elk, as well as other game species, and sportsmen are proposing unique protections for these areas. With this resolution, the commission has highlighted the value of these public lands for their benefit to fish, wildlife, and outdoor recreation.

“Backcountry BLM lands in Lake County provide important habitat for bighorn sheep and great fishing opportunities on various drainages of the Arkansas River,” says Tim Hill, owner of Colorado Fly Fishing Guides out of Leadville. “By passing a resolution in favor of these federal public lands, the commission is joining a growing majority of county governments in Colorado and across the West that see how unworkable and insulting the idea of state takeover is to millions of Americans. I hope that other counties across the West will continue to carry this banner in support of our outdoor heritage.”

A total of 21 pro-public-lands resolutions have been passed by county and municipal governments in the past two years. The new sportsmensaccess.org, where hunters and anglers can take action and find resources on the would-be impacts of land transfer, has an exhaustive list of these resolutions and other meaningful opposition. Click here to learn more.

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Colorado’s Lake County Opposes Transfer of America’s Public Lands to the State

News for Immediate Release

Oct. 04, 2016

Contact: Kristyn Brady, 617-501-6352, kbrady@trcp.org

This is the tenth Colorado county to join a growing movement against state takeover of national public lands, which are the lifeblood of sportsmen’s access in the West

LEADVILLE, Colo. – The Board of Lake County Commissioners has passed a resolution opposing the effort to transfer or sell national public lands to the state of Colorado or local governments. This decision supports every American’s ability to hunt, fish, and recreate on public lands and underscores the conservation legacy of leaders like Theodore Roosevelt, who helped create a public lands system that is the envy of the world.

“The commission has proven its commitment to America’s public lands and they should be commended by sportsmen beyond the county limits,” says Nick Payne, Colorado field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Lake County public lands include a frontier mining district with a rich history, and the county is home to the headwaters of the Arkansas River, which is very popular with anglers and rafters. Efforts to restore and reclaim the fishery have been very successful, and more than 100 miles of the Arkansas is now recognized as a having Gold Medal status—that’s worth safeguarding for citizens.”

The county’s resolution recognizes the importance of public lands for:

– Providing fish and wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreation—including hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife-watching, horseback riding, and bicycling—that are essential to residents’ quality of life.
– Attracting outdoor recreation tourism that drives local spending and employs hundreds of county residents.
– Preserving historically significant and irreplaceable cultural sites and landscapes.

It’s worth noting that the BLM’s Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan, which is currently being revised, includes Lake County backcountry lands that provide important habitat for bighorn sheep and elk, as well as other game species, and sportsmen are proposing unique protections for these areas. With this resolution, the commission has highlighted the value of these public lands for their benefit to fish, wildlife, and outdoor recreation.

“Backcountry BLM lands in Lake County provide important habitat for bighorn sheep and great fishing opportunities on various drainages of the Arkansas River,” says Tim Hill, owner of Colorado Fly Fishing Guides out of Leadville. “By passing a resolution in favor of these federal public lands, the commission is joining a growing majority of county governments in Colorado and across the West that see how unworkable and insulting the idea of state takeover is to millions of Americans. I hope that other counties across the West will continue to carry this banner in support of our outdoor heritage.”

A total of 21 pro-public-lands resolutions have been passed by county and municipal governments in the past two years. The new sportsmensaccess.org, where hunters and anglers can take action and find resources on the would-be impacts of land transfer, has an exhaustive list of these resolutions and other meaningful opposition. Click here to learn more.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

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October 3, 2016

Bucks and Bulls: Exploring the Economic Value of Hunting Montana’s Backcountry

New study explores why we cannot afford to lose our backcountry landscapes

Back in August, we posted some beautiful photos of the Missouri Breaks region taken by photographer Charlie Bulla. Clearly, there can’t be much argument against the aesthetic value of these BLM lands outside Lewistown, Mont., but we believe the economic impact of the landscape is equally astonishing. A recent financial study released by Headwaters Economics—an independent, nonpartisan research group headquartered in Bozeman—shows that expenditures from hunting in this region contribute significantly and sustainably to the local economy.

The study looked at expenditures in four adjacent hunting districts, which include lands that the BLM will be addressing in the Resource Management Plan (RMP) currently in development for the Lewistown field office.

According to the study, big game hunting in these four districts accounted for nearly $4 million in spending, with $3.8 million coming from elk hunters alone. These figures include both resident elk hunters, who, according to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, spend on average $86 a day, and non-resident elk hunters, who drop a whopping $577 per day on average. And that doesn’t even include the cost of licenses.

It’s clear that big game hunting provides a consistent and significant economic impact to the region, and local businesses rely on it.

“Hunters are filling up at our gas stations, eating in our restaurants, staying in our hotels, and they’re buying guns, ammunition, and gear from my store,” says Charlie Pfau, owner of Don’s Store, a sporting goods store in Lewistown. “Public land isn’t just about hunting, though. The economics of central Montana are not only made up of the folks who come for our outdoor tourism and hunting, but also the folks who choose to live here because of what the area has to offer. If you can do it outdoors, chances are you can do it in central Montana. Public access is about enjoying all of the wonders this area has to offer.”

To hunters, the wonders are clear: This region of Montana represents some of the most productive big game habitat anywhere in North America. This is thanks, largely, to the fact that these lands are expansive, mostly unfragmented, and undeveloped. And we’re trying to keep it that way.

Much of this country is public land managed by the BLM, and for the first time in more than 20 years, the agency is updating its Resource Management Plan that will guide the future management of these important lands. The TRCP and other sportsmen’s groups are working with local stakeholders and the BLM to advance an important new conservation tool called Backcountry Conservation Areas, which would be used to safeguard places like the Missouri Breaks from fragmentation and development, while maintaining Americans’ access for traditional uses, such as grazing, hunting, and range improvement.

How can you help? The BLM is expected to release a draft of their plan very soon. When they do, your input and comments will matter. Help us urge the BLM to conserve the best backcountry in the Missouri Breaks. Sign up to pledge your support for backcountry conservation, and we’ll keep you informed throughout the BLM’s planning process. Sportsmen like you should continue to have a say in the future management of this unique—and economically important—fish and wildlife habitat.

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September 28, 2016

Everglades Restoration Clears House Hurdle

House members vote to send the Water Resources Development Act to conference, meaning anglers are one step closer to better fish habitat in at-risk waters

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA), which matches Senate-passed provisions to jumpstart much-needed restoration of Everglades fisheries and water quality improvements across the country through strategic use of wetlands, reefs, and other natural infrastructure.

The bipartisan bill would authorize $5 billion in water projects overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including $1.9 billion for the Central Everglades Planning Project, which would fast-track efforts to restore natural water flows, remove pollutants, and reverse algae blooms and other conditions devastating South Florida’s fisheries.

Image courtesy of Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Image courtesy of Fish and Wildlife Commission.

“The sportfishing industry recognizes that it is vital for the Florida Everglades to receive funding as soon as possible to expedite the implementation of multi-year projects that will help fix the water quality and water management challenges that plague south Florida,” says Scott Gudes, vice president of government affairs with the American Sportfishing Association. “These projects have been through an extensive review process and will provide significant environmental benefits by moving more water south from Lake Okeechobee. However, Congressional authorization is required before construction can begin.”

The House bill would also emphasize the use of nature-based infrastructure—like wetlands and dunes Click To Tweet

The House bill would also emphasize the use of nature-based infrastructure—like wetlands, dunes, and reefs—over new man-made structures to reduce flood and storm damage, improve water quality, and protect vital fish and wildlife habitat in the process. This provision, which sportsmen have been calling for since June 2016, was added as an amendment after a strongly bipartisan voice vote.

Similar provisions in the Senate version of WRDA, which passed 95-3 on September 15, would clear a path toward making these conservation measures happen. The two bills will need to be conferenced, with any differences hammered out, before legislation can go to the president’s desk.

“It should be encouraging to sportsmen that Congress is making definitive moves to advance important conservation measures with major impacts for fish, wildlife, and water quality at a time when they are tasked with so much,” says Steve Kline, director of government relations with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “There will be as much, or more, competing for lawmakers’ attention going into a conference on these bills, but there is no time to lose when it comes to reversing destruction in Florida’s fisheries or prioritizing projects that have mutual benefits for habitat and infrastructure.”

Read about the Senate version of WRDA here.

Learn more about the Everglades fisheries crisis here.

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.

Learn More

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