Coloradans Want Browns Canyon to be the Next National Monument

By: 
Judith Kohler
For Bill Dvorak, permanent protection for southern Colorado’s Browns Canyon has been a long time coming. Dvorak is the National Wildlife Federation’s public lands organizer in Colorado. He’s also one of the best-known outfitters in the state and has been leading fishing and rafting trips down the Arkansas River since the early 1980s.
 
Some of the best rafting runs through Browns Canyon, prized for its rugged, undeveloped terrain that is at the same time easily accessible to Colorado’s populous Front Range. It’s among the country’s top whitewater destinations. Activities on the river generated an estimated $55.7 million in economic benefits last year, according to the Colorado River Outfitters’ Association.

Washington-crafted forest legislation rejects local, collaborative approach

Date: 
Sat, 07/19/2014

 

 

Flickr:gmeador

 

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  After decades of conflict, top-down forest policies have gradually been replaced by local collaboration and consensus-driven management.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

Date: 
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

Date: 
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." 

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