Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) is working on national policy issues that affect all sportsmen, here is an update:
BHA responded in force to the Trump administration’s unprecedented rollback of monument protections on more than 2 million acres of American public lands. Thanks to many of you who have spoken up, we’ve been sending a clear message that this decision undermines the longstanding bipartisan legacy of the Antiquities Act. We’ve responded to this historic attack with a series of ads, press releases and opinion articles. To make sure you have the facts needed to respond accordingly, we’ve compiled Frequently Asked Questions to help you better understand our stance.
Greater Sage Grouse
Our sagebrush ecosystems play a critical ecological role that not only supports the sage grouse, but mule deer, pronghorn, elk and a multitude of other species. For decades, habitat loss and degradation from development, invasive species and fire and have negatively impacted these iconic places. BHA has fought hard to see conservation plans implemented but a small faction in Congress and the current administration is intent on unraveling this historic collaborative conservation success. After BHA and our partners successfully averted attempts to scuttle conservation plans in defense spending legislation, the Interior Department issued a notice of intent to consider amending all, some or none of the 98 management plans. According to the DOI notice, this review is a result of one plan’s failure to prepare an environmental impact statement for its sagebrush focal areas. BHA and our chapters around the West have attended public meetings and submitted comments to the BLM. We’re remaining diligent and we will let you know as more comments and action are needed.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Despite widespread opposition from sportsmen and many others, the Senate passed a tax bill earlier this month that includes a provision to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy development. With House and Senate legislation now combined into a package that will likely be sent to President Trump for his signature before Christmas, the refuge, home to the largest migratory caribou heard in the world, is a backcountry treasure at risk Check out this video that features national board member J.R. Young, his wife Renee and Alaska volunteer extraordinaire Barry Whitehill. It’s not too late to let your members of Congress know where you stand.
Mountain Bikes in Wilderness
Earlier this month the House Natural Resource Committee held a hearing on the latest version of a Trojan horse bill to allow mountain bikes and other forms of mechanized recreation in wilderness. Our position on maintaining traditional uses and intact habitat in wilderness area remains unchanged, and we’d welcome your help in making this position known by writing a letter to the editor, setting up meetings with your members of Congress or sharing your opinion on social media. If you can lend a hand, please let us know. Find a rundown of many of the issues that BHA is actively working on here.
Sabinoso Wilderness Grand Opening
A huge shout-out to the New Mexico chapter for responding in true BHA fashion to the opening of the Sabinoso Wilderness for the first time. BHAer Brad Jones was the first citizen to go through the gates, which opened on Nov. 10. Brad authored a great opinion column giving thanks, and the chapter convened a celebratory hike on Dec. 9! Thanks go to New Mexico’s U.S. Senate delegation and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for their efforts to open the Sabinoso, pictured below:
Thanks to all of you for supporting Backcountry Hunters& Anglers. If you’re not yet a member of our organization and you’d like to get involved with your local BHA community, please join us here.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers http://www.backcountryhunters.org/