Westerners join forces to keep public lands in public hands

Meg Morris

Throughout the West, state lawmakers have introduced bills or have proposals in the works to take over all or some of the national public lands within their boundaries. Some legislators are threatening to sue to claim the lands. Others are spending a lot of time and money to study the costs and benefits of assuming control of national public lands. The National Wildlife Federation and its affiliates in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada are reaching out to lawmakers, the public and the media to make it clear that we want public lands to stay in public hands.

The State of our public lands? In the bull’s eye

Judith Kohler January 21, 2015

Our public lands are in the bull’s eye. Legislators in states throughout the West have launched efforts to take over national public lands or explore ways to do it. Proponents claim the states can manage the lands better but gloss over how much it will cost to assume stewardship of millions of acres. They dodge arguments that state takeover of public lands – lands owned by all Americans – inevitably will lead to  big sell-offs of the choicest parcels, many of which provide some of the best hunting, fishing and sightseeing in the country.

A win for South Park, a win for wildlife!

Mon, 01/12/2015

Hundreds of elk on the move delay traffic in South Park. Photo by Richard Hamilton.

Wildlife scored a victory when the Colorado State Land Board voted to defer proposed oil and gas leases in the James Mark Jones State Wildlife Area in South Park. The area is important winter habitat for mule deer, elk and pronghorns. Park County, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and sportsmen's and wildlife groups asked the land board to withdraw the leases, set for auction in February, because the Bureau of Land Management is developing a master leasing plan to guide oil and gas development on public lands in South Park.

“The Colorado Wildlife Federation is pleased the State Land Board voted not to lease its oil and gas rights under the James Mark Jones State Wildlife Area. This area is important for wintering elk and pronghorn as well as for recreation,” said Colorado Wildlife Federation Executive Director Suzanne O’Neill.


Idaho sportsmen: Time to protect Boulder-White Clouds

Tue, 12/23/2014

Idaho sportsmen recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to talk to federal officials about making Boulder-White Clouds a national monument. Image:Idaho Wildlife Federation

The Idaho Wildlife Federation recently organized a visit to Washington, D.C., to talk to members of Congress and administration officials about designating Boulder-White Clouds as a national monument. 

"I think sportsmen and conservationists in Idaho are tired of waiting," IWF Executive Director Michael Gibson told a reporter. "People have been working on protections in the Boulder-White Clouds for 50 years."