Join the fight to access your public lands
- On Thursday, September 12, in Washington D.C., Administrator, Andrew Wheeler of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), <a href="https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-us-army-repeal-2015-rule-defining-waters-united-states-ending-regulatory-patchwork">announced a repeal of the 2015 Obama-era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule</a>.
- Is the Trump Administration Really Looking Out for Outdoorsmen and Women? That Might Be Up to Interior Secretary David BernhardtThere are two common narratives circling President Donald Trump and our country’s public lands. In the first narrative, President Trump’s Department of the Interior is at the bidding of the energy industry, and it’s out to drill, mine, and develop our public lands—and then sell whatever scraps are left to the highest bidder. In the second, President Trump and the DOI are dedicated to supporting sportsmen and women because we boost the economy and fund wildlife conservation. They’ll do whatever they can to increase our ranks, while also promoting responsible resource extraction on public lands.
- Road Kill Costs Millions, Endangers Lives, and Hurts Wildlife Populations. Here’s a Plan to Fix ThatCongress is considering language in the Federal Highway bill that would direct $250 million dollars over five years for modernizing highways with wildlife crossing features. According to the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), More than 40 sportsmen’s groups signed a letter to congressional leadership in April 2019 asking for a competitive grant program with at least $50 million annually be directed toward reducing the impacts our roads have on wildlife. Senators appeared to be listening. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed the highway bill by a 21-0 vote.
- While candidate Donald Trump promised to cherish America’s public hunting and fishing land, close observers say policies under his presidency are undermining those lands and even aiding those who would dispose of America’s public land altogether. America has 640 million acres of public lands—national forests, wildlife refuges, national parks and Bureau of Land Management ground—that generations of Americans access for hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities, generally for free or low charge.
- 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.
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.
- 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.