Federal legislation transferring millions of acres of national forests lands to states would threaten hunting, fishing and recreation on those lands. Image: Aaron Kindle
By Judith Kohler
WASHINGTON – The National Wildlife Federation has joined other conservation and sportsmen’s organizations in opposing two bills that would remove millions of acres of national forest land from the public domain, endangering fish and wildlife populations, water quality and the public’s ability to hunt, fish and recreate on these lands as it has for generations.
Both HR3560 and HR2316 would remove the public out of ownership and management decisions on large tracts of national forests, which are important sources of clean water and fish and wildlife habitat, said Mike Leahy, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior manager of public lands and sportsmen’s policy. Bedrock environmental laws that protect our air and water quality and wildlife and require public input into decisions about public lands would no longer apply to the land, he added. Multiple use of these national forest lands would end and be replaced by a near exclusive focus on timber.
“Sportsmen and women and outdoor enthusiasts of all backgrounds have helped defeat several land-grab attempts in statehouses across the county and we will fight any land-giveaway schemes by Congress,” Leahy said. “Our national public lands are vitally important to our economy, way of life and identity as Americans.
“Instead of expanding public involvement in public land management these bills would place decision-making in the hands of a few. They would also undermine ongoing, on-the-ground collaborative efforts among federal, state and community representatives.”