Imagine you were part owner of 640 million acres of land. Now imagine someone was trying to take that land away. Would you try to stop them? Guess what, if you a U.S. citizen, you are a part owner of 640 million acres of federally owned public land and someone is trying to take it away. Luckily a petition has been drawn up to let lawmakers know that we don’t want to lose our public lands.
What Do Public Lands Have to Offer?
Not everyone can afford to own tons of private land. Public land provides everyone an opportunity to hunt, fish, hike, horseback ride, or camp—for free. More than 2/3 of western hunters take advantage of public land. Increased difficulty in gaining access to private lands is constantly forcing more hunters to public land. The majority of our nation’s elk, bighorn sheep, and mule deer spend most of their lives on public land. Every U.S. citizen is a stakeholder and it is our duty as citizens and voters to let lawmakers know how we feel about the possibility of losing our public lands.
Understand the Threat
A budget developed by Congressman Paul Ryan and the Budget Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives proposed the sale of “millions of acres of unneeded land.” This land (located in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming) would be sold to the highest bidder. The money from the sale would be “deposited directly into the Treasury for reduction of the public debt.”
Efforts are also afoot in many western states to transfer federal land to the states. Each state’s proposal is different, but they all share a common theme. Public land would be taken away from its rightful owners, the people of the United States of America, and put under state ownership. A lack of adequate state funding to maintain the public lands would most likely result in their sale. Once public lands become privatized, everyday Americans will be locked out forever.
Our vast public lands are one of the most valuable assets we will pass on to future generations of outdoorsmen and women. Some politicians, however, seem to agree with 19th century timber and copper baron William Clark who stated that, “those who succeed us can take care of themselves.”
Outdoorsmen and women tend to agree more with former president (and avid outdoorsman) Theodore Roosevelt who said, “I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.”
What Can You Do to Protect Public Lands?
Remington, along with over 25 other companies and organizations, has created a coalition to help protect our public lands. The group has banded together under the Sportsmens’ Access moniker and written a petition to show lawmakers how much we value our public lands.
Sign the petition and share it with your friends. Write your own letter to lawmakers stressing the need to keep public lands public. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and sportsmen and women can’t afford to be silent on this issue. Let your representative know that you agree with Steven Rinella who said, “this is a downright stupid idea.”