Public lands hunting and angling have been under attack during recent years by those looking to sell federal public lands to private interests or transfer them to states.
Some of the most notable culprits include groups like the American Lands Council (ALC) and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) along with some congressional Republicans, including Rep. Bob Bishop, R-Utah, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
In the words of Petersen's Hunting editor in chief, Mike Schoby: "The real reason politicians lobby to get their hands on federal lands is not to better manage it for hunters (don't kid yourself: your hunting opportunities are not even on their radar), but to rape and pillage it before selling it off to wealthy corporations that donate heavily to their campaigns."
For the most part, these efforts have been thwarted, but bad ideas never die. Now, the same cast of characters is going after the Antiquities Act, one of our nation's premier public lands protection acts.
"In places like Browns Canyon and Rio Grande del Norte, national monuments have proved to be an effective way to implement collaborative public land management solutions that conserve world-class hunting and fishing opportunities," said Corey Fisher, senior policy director for Trout Unlimited. "In these instances and others, Congress failed to enact widely supported proposals, and the Antiquities Act provided a path forward to bring to fruition these community-driven initiatives."
However, the fight to protect our public lands continues. Most recently, some members of Congress have introduced legislation to essentially gut the Antiquities Act and have called on President Trump to roll back existing national monument designations, such as Bears Ears in Utah and Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine.
Field & Stream contributing editor, Hal Herring, explains what's at risk: "Our national monuments provide some of the greatest hunting opportunities in the world. They will remain so as long as hunters get involved, and stay involved, in the public process."
As hunters and anglers who use our public land and water, we support the Antiquities Act as it currently stands. It has proven itself, over time, to be good for sportsmen and the land, water and wildlife they treasure.
— David A. Lien, Chairman, Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Colorado Springs
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