Sportsmen encourage party platforms to support America’s public lands
More than thirty sportsmen organizations sent a letter to the RNC and DNC encouraging them to support America’s public lands
By Casey Skeens
National Wildlife Federation
More than thirty national and state-level sportsmen organizations, representing millions of hunters and anglers, sent the following letters to the Republican and Democratic Platform Committees encouraging them to support America’s public lands:
July 11, 2016
310 First Street SE 1900 Market St, Suite 300
Washington, D.C 20003 Philadelphia, PA 19103
Honorable Reince Priebus Honorable Shirley Franklin
Chairperson, Republican National Comm. Honorable Daniel Malloy
Republican National Committee Co-Chair, Democratic National Comm.
Dear Mr. Priebus: Dear Mrs. Franklin & Governor Malloy:
Our organizations collectively represent millions of hunters, anglers and other outdoors enthusiasts. Our members, and tens of millions of other Americans, depend on our national forests, parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands to provide fish and wildlife habitat and access to places to hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors. The iconic landscapes of America’s public lands also sustain our economy by supporting an outdoor recreation industry that generates $646 billion in economic benefit annually and supports 6.1 million jobs—and attracting tourists from around the nation.
Our national tapestry of public lands is the product of more than a century of leadership by both Republicans and Democrats. Several of the world’s first national forests, monuments and wildlife refuges were set aside by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt. Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt expanded our National Wildlife Refuge System and National Park System and put millions of Americans to work during the Great Depression restoring and maintaining public lands. Over the years, presidents of both parties worked with bipartisan leaders in Congress to craft the laws that govern the activities of the U.S. Forest Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, National Wilderness Preservation System, and the Bureau of Land Management.
America’s public lands provide important value for all Americans, whether they live in rural or urban areas. These benefits include improving air and water quality, sustaining local water supplies, producing timber, providing grass for grazing, bolstering local tourism economies, enhancing agricultural production through pollination, and supporting a range wildlife and biodiversity.
America’s hunters and anglers have a special interest in our public lands. Some of our most treasured big game animals depend on the secure habitat and migration corridors that are provided by public land. Many sportfish species depend on cool, clean waters that originate on public lands. Federal public lands also provide free access for tens of millions of Americans to hunt and fish every year. These lands sustain our hunting and fishing heritage and fill our freezers. While all of America owns these lands, their wise stewardship is of particularly vital concern to us.
Managing hundreds of millions of acres of federal land for the public benefit requires a careful balancing of many different uses. It is also essential to ensure that current activities do not impair the ability of future generations to benefit from our public lands. There are no easy answers, but the value of public lands to the American people makes finding common-sense solutions worth the effort.
Your 2016 party platform presents an opportunity to explain to the American people how you will satisfy competing interests and protect our public lands for future generations. Healthy debate about how to manage federal lands is an important part of the democratic process. Your platform can advance that democratic debate by explaining how your party proposes to sustainably develop natural resources, protect wildlife habitat, ensure public access, and maintain our public land heritage for future generations.
At the same time, we do not believe it would be constructive to include broad directives to transfer federal lands to state or local control, sell federal lands to private interests, or otherwise liquidate the national interest in federal land management. These kinds of directives do a disservice to the American people and especially to America’s hunters and anglers. These proposals do not advance the goal of finding meaningful ways to balance competing interests and preserve our national public land heritage for future generations.
Thank you for your commitment to the sound management and conservation of our public lands, which provide so much benefit to all Americans. If you would like to discuss this with us, please contact Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, at [email protected], 703-438-6046.
The National Wildlife Federation
Boone and Crockett Club
Dallas Safari Club
National Wild Turkey Federation
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Wild Sheep Foundation
Wildlife Management Institute
Alabama Wildlife Federation
Arizona Wildlife Federation
Association of Northwest Steelheaders
Colorado Wildlife Federation
Conservation Federation of Missouri
Florida Wildlife Federation
Georgia Wildlife Federation
Idaho Wildlife Federation
Indiana Wildlife Federation
Kansas Wildlife Federation
Michigan United Conservation Clubs
Minnesota Conservation Federation
Montana Wildlife Federation
Nevada Wildlife Federation
New Mexico Wildlife Federation
North Carolina Wildlife Federation
North Dakota Wildlife Federation
South Carolina Wildlife Federation
South Dakota Wildlife Federation
Tennessee Wildlife Federation
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation
Wyoming Wildlife Federation