SALT LAKE CITY – Western hunters and anglers are sending a message today that we must protect public lands to sustain the fish, wildlife and hunting and fishing opportunities that define the Western way of life.
A full page ad running in the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News newspapers includes the tag line “Protect the land and you protect everything that comes with it.” It features photos of men and women hunting and fishing across the West and says that public lands “from sagebrush country to national monuments” provide clean water, sustain fish and wildlife and support fishing and hunting opportunities. It appears on a day that Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke visits Salt Lake City.
Nick Streit, one of the sportsmen featured in the ad, is a lifelong hunter and angler who owns fly shops in Taos and Santa Fe, N.M.
“I learned to hunt and fish in the waters and public lands that are now part of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. For years, our community fought to have a monument established here so our ability to hunt and fish would be protected,” Streit says. “Taking care of the land that takes care of us is the only way we can ensure future generations have the same opportunities we have had. The Rio Grande del Norte is more than just a place to recreate, hunt and fish, it’s a part of our culture.”
Hunters and anglers across the region and country are voicing concerns about the administration’s push to make energy production the priority use of public lands, as well as the decision to drastically shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah. The action opens important wildlife habitat, hunting and fishing areas and lands sacred to tribes to potential drilling and mining.
“Sportsmen and women believe energy development can co-exist with other activities, but it takes careful planning, input from the public and a commitment to the long-term health of public lands,” says Aaron Kindle, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior manager of Western sporting campaigns. “The value of our public lands is far more than what we can extract from them. It goes to the heart of who we are as Westerners and as Americans.”
Click here to view the ad.
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