A press release just popped into my e-mail that caught my attention: TRCP Donates $10K to Sportsmen’s Access.
The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) giving $10,000 to help bolster public hunting and fishing access is definitely something of interest. As I read through the release, I learned that TRCP had donated the cash to support the Wyoming Game & Fish Department’s Private Lands Public Wildlife Access Program, which provides hunters and anglers with access to private lands.
As you’ve likely figured out by now, I’m a big fan of such programs and kudos are in order to TRCP for providing that support. But what really caught my attention was a link to a fairly new effort by TRCP dubbed the Sportsmen Values Mapping Project.
Essentially, the project will map out areas of special interest to hunters and anglers. Launched in April of 2011, about 1,000 hunters and anglers from 20 communities across Wyoming (the project is focused on the Rocky Mountain West region to start) provided information, feedback and locations of areas they would like to see conserved, as well as areas of public access that should be maintained or improved.
“As the name indicates, the Sportsmen Values Mapping Project identifies the areas sportsmen value and that need to be considered as land use planning decisions are made,” said TRCP Western Outreach Director Neil Thagard. “The project and resulting data will help the Wyoming Game & Fish Department prioritize its negotiations with landowners regarding participation in the Private Lands Public Wildlife Access Program.”
TRCP will also use the data to illustrate to legislators and decision-makers just what areas are of most importance to sportsmen and women when issues arise concerning habitat degradation, land uses, and other important issues.
I can see where this type of input and the resulting map and database could be used hand-in-hand with the pending Sportsmen Heritage Act legislation that would require federal land management agencies to ensure hunting and fishing access is considered and maintained on our public lands.
I readily admit that this is the first I’ve heard of this program. But it certainly was one of those “Well, duh” moments. A database such as this could have real impacts on future land use decisions. While the efforts are currently focused on the West, I’m hoping this becomes a national effort.
I certainly have a few special places that I’d like to add to that list.