Sportsmen have helped defeat public-land-grab bills across the West. Image: Aaron Kindle
By Aaron Kindle, National Wildlife Federation
The pro public lands transfer movement is shaking its collective head in agony after yet another losing year in state legislatures across the country. On the other hand sportsmen, outdoor enthusiasts, business owners, and lovers of public lands are taking a moment celebrate the defeat of these bills while also preparing to hold the legislators accountable for their actions.
Despite being soundly defeated in 2015, and receiving the clear message that citizens of all stripes adamantly oppose public lands being transferred to states, the ideological pro-transfer crowd again used their misguided allies in state legislatures to introduce more bad bills in 2016.
Fortunately for all of us who love and rely on public lands as the backbone to our communities, economies, and traditions, very few of these bills even got a hearing, much less passed out of the respective legislatures. We showed up in droves every time legislators proposed a bad bill, every time proponents were given the floor to promote the folly of public land transfer, and we flooded the newspapers and airwaves at every decisive moment.
The result was a sound defeat, but the work is not done.