The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently issued a press release solidifying its long-standing stance in adamantly opposing the sale or transfer of federal lands to states.
“We have always been against the sale or transfer of our public lands but now we’re seeing some western state legislatures mulling or taking action that could lead to that happening. We’re also hearing some chatter on the federal level,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This is dangerous for two reasons. First, it could result in the privatizing of these lands and the subsequent permanent loss of public access for hunters, anglers, hikers and others.
“Second, this discussion is a smoke screen of sorts that does nothing to address the real issue of the crucial need for active management of our forests,” Allen said.
RMEF released a detailed position on the issue in 2016. In addition to stating an opposition to the wholesale disposal, sale or transfer of federal land holdings, it also highlighted the urgent need for active land management.
The lack of active management has a detrimental impact on the landscape in the form of ailing forest health, an increasing number of catastrophic wildfires and a reduction in quality habitat for elk and other wildlife.
RMEF maintains litigation reform is essential to limit non-stop, frivolous lawsuits by environmental groups that use their political agendas to frustrate the implementation of badly needed land management practices as they also seek to eliminate any consideration of multiple use in many national forests.
Additionally, RMEF maintains that some within public land management fundamentally oppose active management of forest and range resources in favor of a hands-off preservation approach to landscapes which has a detrimental effect on wildlife and wildlife habitat.
“We call on RMEF members across the nation and America’s sportsmen and women to contact representatives in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to urge them to provide federal land managers the tools and direction to develop and implement effective active land management procedures,” said Allen.
“We also call on them to strongly urge state and federal lawmakers to speak out against the sale or transfer of public lands to protect our ability to hunt, fish, camp, ride and recreate, and then hold them accountable for their actions,” he added.
The RMEF claims a membership of more than 222,000 people and says it has conserved more than 7 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage.