Mtn Ops since its inception has maintained a stance and will continue to maintain our stance against the sale or transfer of our public lands. Many western states are taking legislative action that could lead to the selling off of our public lands. Should the states be transferred control of our public lands, it could result in the privatizing of these lands and the subsequent permanent loss of public access for hunters, anglers, hikers and others.
These are our public lands. The discussion that transferring the federal lands to states is a smoke screen that does not adequately address the real issue of the crucial need for active management of our forests. This lack of active management has a impact on the landscape which directly effects the quality of habitat for all wildlife.
Mtn Ops stands firm in our belief that our public lands are not for sale. As the song written by Woody Guthrie states, “This land is your land, this land is my land… this land was made for you and me”. We as Americans have the divine gift and privilege to have access and act as stewards over these public lands. Public lands are the heart and soul of everything we cherish as hunters and anglers. With the selling off and privatizing of these lands, we as sportsmen and women will be limited in our ability to hunt, explore, and enjoy.
Recently a battle was won in defending our public lands by eliminating a proposed bill in Utah, called H.R. 621. This bill would have sold over 3 million acres of public land. Through the unification of our outdoor community, we spoke as one body. This unified front forced Representative Jason Chaffetz to withdraw H.R. 621. This was a victory for all of us. However, the battle is far from over.
There are many more issues on the horizon that we have to tackle. We commit to you that we will devote all that we can to supporting our conservation partners in the fight to keep our public lands in public hands. As we work more closely with our partners on the issues, we will continue to reach out as the issue arise to help inform you of how we can maintain a strong defense again the selling of our public lands.
Some current issues you should know about:
- HR 622, also proposed by Rep. Chaffetz, will undermine the law enforcement functions of the BLM and Forest Service. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the law enforcement officers who help protect our public lands. These officers are experts in conservation, and we are very concerned that taking away their educated authority will lead to more poaching and habitat degradation.
- Oregon House Bill 2365, sponsored by Rep. Wilson, will empower a task force to research the benefits of transferring federal public lands to the state. This task force would primarily investigate fiscal benefits of the transfer, including the timber and mineral revenue possibly accrued after the transfer is complete. We fear if financial contribution is the dominating factor, the research will support the immediate transfer of these lands, overlooking utilization of and current access to public lands.
We strongly encourage you to call your representatives and tell them you oppose H.R. 622 and H.B. 2365, and support keeping public lands in public hands. Go to: www.usa.gov/elected-officials to find your local representative and make the call. every call can truly makes a difference. We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. For more a more detailed position on public lands, please look at our conservation partners stance here: http://www.rmef.org/NewsandMedia/PressRoom/NewsReleases/RMEFonPublicLandsTransfer.aspx
we invite you to join us in supporting the efforts of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, 2% Percent For Conservation, Keep It Public and our other conservation partners who are heading up the public land agenda. Become a member and support organizations that are making a difference. As we unit with these conservation groups, we can send a strong message to legislators that the hunting community will not allow the sale of our legacy.
These public lands are critical to our heritage, lifestyle, and hunting. Let us stand united, to keep public lands in public hands.
Thank you for supporting us, as we diligently support you.
Trevor Farnes, Jordan Harbertson, Casey Harbertson