Join the fight to access your public lands
- The national forests around California’s Lake Tahoe are the latest flashpoint in the debate over how land and wildlife managers treat electric bikes, also called “e-bikes,” on public land.Historically, e-bikes were considered motorized vehicles and had traditionally not been allowed on non-motorized trails on public lands such as national forests and national parks.
- The Tongass National Forest in Alaska is getting most of the publicity around a pending exemption from the Roadless Rule, which prevents new road building on certain Forest Service land. But in the Lower 48, Utah officials might have found a working compromise through a Shared Stewardship Pact with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Rangers for the Forest Service, National Park Service and other land management agencies catch the brunt of everything from hostile language to threats with weapons to domestic terrorism, says the report, breathlessly titled "Federal Land Management Agencies, Additional Actions Needed to Address Facility Security Assessment Requirements." The investigation was requested by Congress and reviewed threats against public land managers from 2013-17.
- September's long-anticipated repeal of the 2015 "Waters of the U.S." (WOTUS) rule may prove to be a subdued preamble compared to the legal and regulatory battle set to erupt this fall and reverberate into 2020 and beyond. The Trump administration is expected to complete step two in its WOTUS repeal by finalizing its replacement for the Obama Era rule by the end of the year.
- DOI Secretary David Bernhardt said his motivation was to increase opportunities for outdoor recreation, particularly for those not hale and hardy enough to pedal traditional mountain bikes. Fair enough. I have older friends who love the freedom their new e-bikes offer. Let’s recap. On private land, it’s up to the land owners to regulate access on their property. The DOI order applies to public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (with about 250 million acres) and, National Parks (with about 85 million acres). It does NOT apply to national forests, which are managed by the US Forest Service under the Department of Agriculture.
- State lands are a consequence of our national independence. In 1785, fresh from the Revolutionary War victory but prior to ratification of our federal constitution, a committee of founders fretted about how to parcel out the millions of acres of land in what was then known as the Northwest—primarily the Ohio River Valley and its tributaries. The Land Act defined how settlers could obtain this “vacant” land, establishing counties that were divided into 6-square-mile townships. Each township was further divided into square-mile sections, 36 per township. Each of these sections could be sold or granted to qualifying settlers, or kept in the public domain to be used for a defined public purpose. West of the Mississippi, it became common that two sections in each township, 16 and 36, were granted to the state as trust lands.
- 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.
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.
- 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.