Washington-crafted forest legislation rejects local, collaborative approach

Sat, 07/19/2014





In recent years, we’ve seen a sea-change in national forest management.  After decades of conflict, top-down forest policies have gradually been replaced by local collaboration and consensus-driven management. 

This change wasn’t easy. Much of the pressure for local collaboration was initially motivated by local economic concerns. Frankly, many members of  the conservation community were wary of what could be lost under this approach.  People worried that short-term economic demands for timber and grazing would overwhelm the protection of important forest lands and watersheds.


Fortunately, conservationists learned to sit down with other interests and work out deals to protect important places. Unfortunately, a group of 29 Members of Congress decided last week that their Washington political agenda is more important than local consensus and smart forest management.  They are demanding a top-down one-size-fits-all bill (H.R. 1526) that would mandate radically increased logging by converting national forests to “forest reserve revenue areas.”  



Wildfire funding bill will keep conservation from getting burned

Fri, 07/18/2014

Mills Canyon Fire in Washington. Flickr:USDA.gov

By Frank Sturges

Wildfire season is in full swing and states across the West are starting to feel the burn. From the over 20,000 acre Mills Canyon fire in Washington to a wildfire in a remote Wilderness Area in the Sequoia National Forest in California, sparks are starting to fly.
These fires have a dramatic impact on wildlife and outdoor recreational enthusiasts. As wildfire seasons become longer and more intense because of climate change, these impacts will become more common.
When wildfires break out, the U.S. Forest Service, Department of the Interior, and state forestry agencies spring into action. Fighting catastrophic fires takes major resources and these activities burn through agency budgets, leaving no choice but to cut other important programs. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act proposes a commonsense reform to fund the responses to the largest wildfires the same as other natural disasters, but some in Congress are using wildfires as an excuse to try and open extensive amounts of National Forests to massive increases in logging.

Senate takes the 'Bipartisan' from the Sportsmen's Act, dooms legislation

Fri, 07/11/2014

Photo by John Gale

The Senate voted 41-56 Thursday against cloture to end debate on the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 (S. 2363), co-sponsored by Sens. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) effectively killing the bill for this session. Many of the same cosponsors of the bill voted against it, making the Sportsmen’s Act the latest of several bipartisan measures to fall to partisan politics this legislative session.

"Today a bipartisan bill with widespread public support has been torpedoed by unrelated congressional politics," said Collin O’ Mara, the National Wildlife Federation’s president and CEO. "The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act would have secured funding for the conservation of wetlands and other wildlife habitat, and expanded hunting, fishing and other recreational opportunities on public lands." 

Support the Sportsmen's Act

Sportsmen's Act graphic

Speak up for wildlife habitat and sporting opportunity!

In many ways, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 (S. 2363, formerly S. 1966) both conserves wildlife and enhances sporting opportunity. The Sportsmen’s Act incorporates several smaller bills written by both Democrats and Republicans to create what is truly a bipartisan bill — a far too rare thing these days in Congress. 

This is a great opportunity for a gridlocked Senate to come together to pass bipartisan legislation, but anti-hunting groups and partisan politics could derail the Sportsmen Act if you don’t speak up in support today.