Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is initiating a national campaign, Stream Access Now, to uphold and expand public access to America’s streams and waterways.
Officially launched last week at ICAST/IFTD, the largest gathering of sportfishing and fly fishing trade interests in the world, Stream Access Now is drawing strong support from some of the most powerful brands in the angling industry, who are stepping up on behalf of the access opportunities that are crucial to their livelihoods and the public’s outdoor traditions.
While acknowledging the importance of ongoing local activities surrounding stream access, BHA cited the significance of a focused, national effort by sportsmen to build upon, complement and expand these activities.
“Access to streams and waterways is the most important factor in the public’s ability to enjoy angling and waterfowling,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “Whether you’re a Great Lakes duck hunter or a fly fisherman in the Rockies, we all have a stake in strong, sensible state stream access laws that, while respecting private property rights, still allow us to pursue our passions.”
Stream Access Now takes a multi-pronged approach:
- educating sportsmen and others about existing stream access laws, state by state;
- motivating them to get involved in the fight for stream access;
- activating them to block legislative and legal efforts to overturn or weaken state access laws – and to expand existing stream access opportunities.
“Our public access opportunities are far from guaranteed,” Tawney asserted. “Laws governing ownership of streambeds vary widely from state to state, and some states are facing challenges often bankrolled by special interests who want to lock out everyday sportsmen from public rivers. This impacts not only individuals but also an entire industry.”
Industry leaders cited the importance of public access opportunities in their decision to support BHA and Stream Access Now.
“Sportsmen regularly cite lack of access as a primary reason for forgoing their outdoor passions,” said RepYourWater Co-founder Garrison Doctor. “In launching Stream Access Now, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is taking a critical step toward addressing – and ideally rectifying – this problem. As a business that relies on the public’s ability to access and enjoy a range of outdoor activities, we’re pleased to partner with BHA in this effort.”
“Public opportunities to legally access the nation’s streams and waterways are critical to the health of our industry,” said Ben Bulis, president and CEO of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association. “A wide range of businesses – from fly shops and outfitters to motels, grocery stores and cafes – relies on the economic support of anglers and other outdoor recreationists. BHA gets to the heart of this issue – what’s at stake and what we can do to address threats, both as industry members and individual sportsmen. AFFTA is proud to stand up for Stream Access Now.”
“My work takes me across the country in search of unique fishing destinations, but the public’s ability to access a particular waterway plays a huge role in determining where we go,” said Trout TV’s Hilary Hutcheson. “Hats off to Backcountry Hunters & Anglers for shining a spotlight on the crucial issue of public stream access. Their work will have a positive effect on the opportunities and experiences enjoyed by anglers in all 50 states.”
“Until now, no national sportsmen’s group has tackled the issue of responsible stream access, and Orvis is thrilled that Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is taking up the challenge,” said Tom Rosenbauer, marketing manager, Orvis Rod and Tackle. “Through Stream Access Now, BHA is continuing its track record of upholding, defending and expanding opportunities for members of the public to hunt, fish and otherwise enjoy the outdoors. We look forward to supporting and advancing their work.”
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen’s voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.