The Senate recently voted to move toward allowing states to take ownership of federal lands, which could have a real impact on hunter and angler access, particularly in the West. But not before Field & Stream editor-in-chief Anthony Licata (who actually leads the whole Bonnier Corp. Outdoors group, including Outdoor Life) offered a bold, straightforward commentary.
This is something we all must pay attention to, now. In case you missed Licata’s commentary, you can read it here.
Licata wrote: “Make no mistake: This will lead to a loss of access to some of the country’s best hunting and fishing grounds, mean fewer opportunities for millions of sportsmen, and decimate the contribution that hunting and fishing make to our national economy. It will seriously threaten the North American model of wildlife management, which is based on the idea that wildlife belongs to the people, that hunters are the best way to manage our game populations, and that the ability to hunt, fish, and camp on public lands is the right of every American, not just those with deep pockets.
“Simply put, state treasuries cannot afford to manage these lands. In 2012 alone, the feds spent $700 million just fighting forest fires. We can get a hint of the likely solution by looking at the places under consideration for transfer: only lands with high-dollar viewscapes or some extractive value like minerals, crops, or timber. These game-rich areas that currently belong to all of us will be developed or sold to large corporations, degrading critical habitat and locking out millions of sportsmen.”
Do take time to read through the comment thread that follows the story, and you’ll see how much of a battle this will be.