The list is long and distinguished of the organizations that Oppose HR 1581. First, here is a Letter from 13 Conservation groups to Senators. The letter also lists an additional 206 organizations that also opposes opening roads on BLM and USFS lands. Second, 200 Wildlife Professionals wrote this letter to Congress. In our previous posts, we discussed what is HR 1582 and groups that support the Act if you want to read more background information.
You should read both letters for yourself, but below, I attempt to summarize the main conclusions they use as evidence to leave the 2001 Roadless Rule as it is.
Key Points Cited by 13 Conservation Groups and 200 Wildlife Professionals to Protect the 2001 Roadless Rule
- Backcountry/roadless areas provide essential fish and game habitat
- Hunting and fishing contributes $76.7 billion each year to the economy
- Even sportsmen who never enter roadless areas benefit due to the security habitat and clean water these areas provide
- The existing 2001 Roadless Rule does not restrict the use of motorized or mechanized equipment
- The USFS has over 400,000 miles of roads and can not maintain the current network
- The USFS currently has a $8.4 billion road maintenance backlog
- Sedimentation due to roads has at least 15 direct negative effects on trout and salmon
Every sportsman should know that with all the pressures that development is already putting on fish and wildlife habitat, that these roadless areas are more and more critical to maintain quality game and fish populations.
To argue that creating additional access is good for sportsmen must in reality be in support of other issues that have nothing to do with improving hunting or fishing opportunities. It is everyone’s right to argue for what they really want, but please, do not try to tell me that more roads will increase either my hunting and fishing opportunities or my success rate. I was born on the weekend, but it wasn’t last weekend.
I am in the process of re-evaluating my support of some of these so-called conservation organizations. There are several that I may never support again and others that I will join for the first time in the near future.
Since I am no longer the dumb, young, idealistic wildlife student, I no longer blindly follow a single party line at all cost. I am generally for smaller government and less governmental control and for increased personal responsibilities and freedoms.
I am concerned about other issues such as the potential loss of our 2nd amendment rights and our right to hunt on public lands, but I do not believe these rights will be taken away during the next 20 years. If I am wrong, all our lives will be so drastically changed, we will have bigger issues to worry about than hunting rights and game populations. I do believe there is a distinct possibility that remaining game and fish habitat will be seriously degraded in the next 20 years.
I read a post that described the people that want to open up the last remaining backcountry to ATV use as being selfish. So by the same measure, anyone wanting to keep backcountry areas closed to new roads, must also be selfish. Call me selfish. My Congressman and Senators now know that I am not in favor of HR1581. I suggest that you make sure your representatives know how you feel as well. I think the days have passed that we can sit back, shrug our shoulders and accept more losses to habitat. There just isn’t much more that we can afford to lose if good hunting and fishing is important.
I have a final thought and a question for all people that enjoy the backcountry, but especially for those that fish and hunt. Remember that having more access to hunting areas and actually having quality game to hunt are two different issues.
Question: If you are for increased access, would you approve a new road to your favorite honey hole?