Join Backcountry Hunters & Anglers At The Co. Capitol To Rally For Your Public Lands

Join Backcountry Hunters & Anglers this Wednesday, Feb. 25th 2015 at 12pm at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver to rally for your public lands.

Public Lands Are Not For Sale
Public Lands Are Not For Sale
Powderhook
Powderhook

Colorado – -(Ammoland.com)- There’s 640 million acres of public federal land in the United States that is open and available for citizens to enjoy year round.

This may not be the case if action is not taken soon because legislation is being proposed to transfer federal land to the states so they can manage land as they wish.

This may sound like a good thing to some, but there are some very serious issues that need to be looked at before drawing any conclusion.

In The Past

One of the main problems is once a state takes possession of the land, it is likely to sell it for short-term financial gain which makes that land private permanently. Nevada, for example, was given 2.7 million acres when it became the 36th state in the union in 1864. It now has only 3,000. Utah has sold more than 50 percent of its original land grant and other states show the same pattern of selling off public land. States just do not have it in their budgets to manage the newly owned land and therefore have to turn to alternative actions.

Costs

Upkeep on public land is very expensive for states to handle on their own. They need to manage trails, roads, fences, campsites and a big cost driver, wildfires. Wildfires cost the federal government $169 million in Idaho alone in 2012.

If federal land was transferred to Idaho, studies show that Idaho would run a deficit of approximately $111 million per year for only managing half of the 34 million acres of public land within the state. States, when faced with this kind of deficit, are likely to sell off the land to avoid being stuck with wasting resources and to collect property taxes.

Currently the federal government pays the states to have federal land within their state boundaries. In return, the government pays each state for the loss on property taxes they would otherwise receive if the land were privately owned.

In Colorado, in fiscal year 2014 alone, payments received exceeded $34.5 million. It really is a lose-lose for the states because they will no longer receive this property tax reimbursement and they have the added cost of managing millions of acres.

Colorado Public Lands Rally
Colorado Public Lands Rally

Why Should You Care?

Why wouldn’t you care? According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 72 percent of sportsmen depend on access to public lands for hunting. If these lands are sold, they are no longer accessible to sportsmen or outdoor enthusiasts who rely on them for experiencing the wilderness.

This doesn’t just affect western states. Outdoor recreation supports $646 billion in revenue and 6.1 million jobs annually. If the government sells the land, then what happens to the 72 percent of sportsmen who depend on public land? More than likely, outdoor recreation would dwindle causing revenues and jobs to decline. And worst of all, a decline in the hunting and fishing traditions that sportsmen everywhere have worked hard to establish, protect, and promote.

What can you do?

Organizations like Backcountry Hunters & Anglers are actively trying to fight this legislation and protect what is theirs and all of ours. Join Backcountry Hunters & Angles and other Colorado Sportsmen as they rally for your public lands. The rally will be at 12pm (MST) on Wednesday, February 25th at the state capitol building. They will also be hosting a reception following the rally at Stoney’s Bar & Grill. For more information on the rally click here.

Important links:

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