Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hunters And Anglers Cross Political Lines To Fight For Public Lands

Hunters, fishermen and environmental activists: it’s not often these groups are mentioned in the same breath. But recently they’re finding themselves standing shoulder to shoulder over the issue of public lands. Despite having an avid hunter in Ryan Zinke leading up the Interior Department, which oversees the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service, there’s a sense that calls to sell off or transfer public lands are gaining traction. Sportsmen and women consider hunting and fishing in these wild places to be their right – one that earlier generations led by President Theodore Roosevelt fought to secure more than a century ago.“Hunters and anglers are the first conservationists,” says Jesse Salsberry, Northwest Outreach Coordinator of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Talk long enough with the leadership of sportsmen’s groups and you’ll hear variations on this refrain.“Those are folks on landscape that see things and recognize things and have deep appreciation for wildlife,” says Mark Holyoak, Communications Director of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Groups like these often separate what they stand for: “conservation,” with what environmental groups want: “preservation.” (It is an over-generalization to be sure; many environmental groups advocate for both.) Conservation is about sustainably managing natural resources for human or other use. Preservation is about protecting natural resources from human impact. Despite the divergence between environmental and sportsmen’s groups, many of the goals are similar, like healthy land and water that support wildlife. But when it comes to speaking up for these goals, it’s the environmental groups that have taken the bullhorn most often...more

No comments: