Public-Land Transfer Spells Trouble For Sportsmen, 3 Facts Tell Us Why
Most sportsmen are aware of it by now — our federally protected public lands are in serious jeopardy as politicians push for legislation to transfer these lands into the hands of individual states.
Why? According to the proponents behind these bills, managing millions of acres of public land is becoming a serious financial burden for federal entities and the land would be better off under state ownership.
The problem is, when looking at the facts, state management doesn't seem to be the solution either. The mystery behind these proposed policies is troublesome and, as a bowhunting/wildlife conservation organization, we are highly concerned for the end result: loss of access and eventual sale and decimation of these lands. This will strip away our right to bowhunt these free-to-access areas, which we've contributed to for years through our federal tax contributions.
Here are three facts that tell us why this concept is a bad scenario for American sportsmen.
Fact 1 — States Do Not Have Better Resources to Manage This Land
We've looked at the management tactics and budgets for the US Forest Service and BLM and compared them to state agencies. We don't see how states are better equipped than the federal entities to manage 460 million acres of land based on a "multiple-use perspective."
Our federal agencies may not always do a perfect job of caring for our public lands, but they've been doing it since the early 1900s. Also, both the US Forest Service and BLM utilize consistent land-management tactics. This lessens variation in management policy from one area to the next, or from state to state.
Fact 2 — State Ownership Makes It Possible to Sell, Lease or Close to Hunting
The history of state-owned lands is not comforting. In the past, most land that was transferred from federal to state ownership has been sold off. Most of the acreage went to private ownership where it was then cultivated or developed or turned into private hunting ranches.
Fortunately, the trend of selling off state land to private entities has lessened in recent times. However, regardless, transferring ownership to a state makes it possible to sell or lease the land, or to shut off access for recreation use. How can this be a good thing? With federal ownership, it is protected from such occurrences.
Fact 3 — Federal Public Lands: A 100-Year-Old Conservation Symbol
Our great President Theodore Roosevelt fought long and hard to preserve our public lands from further damage and obliteration. From the time he entered office in 1901, Roosevelt used his influence to establish the US Forest Service and the 1906 American Antiquities Act, which opened the door to preserving nearly 230 million acres of public land.
Then came the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, which was formed by Congress. This brought about the protection of another 247 million acres of rangelands now administered by the BLM.
This entire umbrella of federally preserved public land carries Theodore's conservation philosophy: manage land using a highly sustainable, multiple-use perspective. This approach has proved to work well during the last century, with many of these habitats showing improvements in biodiversity and function for wildlife. Why change such a powerful American legacy and conservation achievement? The answer is simple: you should not.
Stop It From Happening
Based on the facts, we strongly urge you to contact your state representative(s) and express strong opposition to any type of federal land transferred to individual states. It simply spells trouble for American sportsmen who appreciate the right to access and hunt on federally managed lands.
To learn more, please visit www.SportsmensAccess.Org