Join the fight to access your public lands
- States like Idaho, Wyoming and Montana all have large state holdings of trust lands – and have policies that generally allow the public to hunt on most of those lands. In Montana, for example, two-thirds of the state’s 4.76 million acres of trust land are open to public hunting, according to the Denver Post. Colorado, however, does things its own way. A way that has historically left hunters short.
- At nearly 17 million acres, the Tongass covers the southeastern panhandle of Alaska, islands, fjords, snowcapped peaks and lush rainforests. It is by far the largest national forest in the system. Creatures like whales and bald eagles that are rare in much of coastal North America, remain abundant here.
- Bipartisan Group of Senators Aims to Fully Support the Land and Water Conservation Fund, The White House Proposes Gutting the FundThat “piggy bank” is the Land & Water Conservation Fund, which for more than 50 years has helped fund fishing access sites, public land purchases and conservation easement that protect working forest lands. Although the law lapsed in 2018, Congress reauthorized it in 2019, and this time made it permanent.
- In 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, a 2.25-million-acre refuge (roughly the size of Yellowstone National Park) for bighorns, bighorn hunters, and other wildlife enthusiasts, at the height of the Great Depression. When the government created what would become the Nevada Test and Training Range, about 846,000 acres of the refuge became dominated by military war games. Today, the military is asking Congress to take another bite out of the refuge and block public access to 225,000 acres—including the lion’s share of the Sheep Mountain Range.
- On March 12, 2019, President Trump signed Senate Bill 47, better known as the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, into law, which immediately and permanently reinstates the Land and Water Conservation Fund after lawmakers allowed it to expire in 2018, and places specific provisions on public land and water to safeguard it for future generations.
- River lovers are celebrating the Natural Resources Management Act of 2019, which will conserve more than 600 miles of rivers and streams under the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. The NRMA passed with enormous majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives and next goes to the White House for President Trump’s signature. “This is the biggest advancement for river protection that we’ve seen in nearly a decade,” said Bob Irvin, President and CEO of American Rivers.
- They did it. Yesterday, on a vote of 363-62, the House of Representatives passed a public-lands conservation bill that will permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation fund, add more than one million acres of Wilderness, and ensure hunting, fishing, and shooting are protected on federal ground. It's being touted as “a turning point for public lands in America,” according to Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
- Since Theodore Roosevelt wrote The Wilderness Hunter in 1893, American hunters and anglers have been in the debate about Wilderness. This continues today as the US Senate recently passed Senate Bill 47, which would protect an additional million acres in California, Oregon, Utah, and New Mexico as Wilderness. Which raises the question: what does Wilderness mean for today’s hunters and anglers?
- On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed the largest public lands bill that we’ve seen in a decade. It approved the bill by an overwhelming 98-2 vote. The legislation, known as the Natural Resources Management Act S. 47, will now head to the House for approval, and then hopefully be signed into law by the president. The package combines more than 100 separate bills that will affect public land in every state in the union.
WHAT WE DO
In order to hunt or fish, you need a place to do it, and Open Country is committed to sportsmen's access—getting it, keeping it, defending it, and celebrating it—so that you always have that place.
- How the Government Shutdown is Impacting Public Lands: Rangers, Biologists, and National Parks Staff Members Stay HomeIn some places, our public lands are literally being trashed as the folks paid to oversee them are left in limbo. In other places, the damage is more gradual. The Forest Service, for example, manages about 200 million acres of public lands, prime land for hunting, fishing and adventuring. The agency employs about 34,000 people, according to Wikipedia. That includes 10,000 fire-fighters (who tend to work seasonally) 700 law enforcement officers, and 500 scientists, foresters and the land managers. Plus, the folks who keep the green trucks running, pump out the outhouses, clear trails and maintain roads.
- America’s bedrock law for protecting public access to the outdoors and providing quality hunting and fishing habitat is dead and cold on the floor of Congress. Blame the U.S. Senate, who decided to play Grinch before Christmas. For 50 years, the Land & Water Conservation Fund has funded efforts to protect key habitats, provide fishing access sites, family fishing ponds and city parks around the United States. That law expired on Sept. 30, and despite desperate midnight negotiations, was not reauthorized by the Senate last night.