Bills Up for House Debate Are an Affront to America’s Public Lands Legacy

House committee takes up legislation that overtly attempts to undermine public lands

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP)
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP)
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Washington, DC -( Today the House Natural Resources Committee’s subcommittee on Federal Lands will discuss a handful of bills that promote the idea of transferring America’s public lands to individual states.

Two of these bills, in particular—Rep. Don Young’s H.R. 3650 and Rep. Raul Labrador’s H.R. 2316—are overt attempts to undermine public land ownership. Young’s bill is sweeping in its impact, allowing states to select and acquire millions of acres of national forests to be completely owned and operated by states and managed primarily for timber production. The Labrador bill would transfer management authority for large segments of our national forests to “advisory committees” and exempt these lands from bedrock conservation laws like the Clean Water Act, all while expecting the American taxpayer to continue to fund costs associated with wildfires on these once-public lands.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) has sent subcommittee members a letter signed by 115 national and state-based hunting and fishing organizations urging lawmakers to reject attempts to seize America’s public lands. The group has also collected nearly 25,000 signatures on a petition opposing the seizure of America’s public lands and loss of sportsmen’s access.

“Even preliminary discussion of this legislation undermines the businesses that rely on public lands to keep their doors open, ignores the very real economic contribution that hunters and anglers make in this country, and panders to private interests at the expense of the public benefit,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the TRCP.

The group and its partners have been calling for decision-makers to end this conversation since January 2015.

“We’ve seen this movement flare up and get stamped out this month at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation. In the last year, we’ve seen 37 bills at the state level, 31 of which were defeated. Now, this is the most overt discussion of seizing or selling off public lands to take place on Capitol Hill. At what point will lawmakers see that this is a non-starter with hunters, anglers, and American families who enjoy public access to outdoor recreation?” asks Fosburgh.

The TRCP is urging sportsmen across the country to contact members of the committee. Here’s the easiest way.

To learn more about efforts to transfer, sell off, or privatize public lands, click here.

For more information on the TRCP visit our website.
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Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing. Ensuring sportsmen’s access to quality fish and wildlife habitat safeguards the $646-billion contribution that sportsmen make to the American economy.

About Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership:

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing. Ensuring sportsmen’s access to quality fish and wildlife habitat safeguards the $646-billion contribution that sportsmen make to the American economy.

For more information on the TRCP, please visit our website at

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Joe Wilson

If the 13 original colonies had been required to give up 26% (average nationwide today) of their state to the federal government there would not be a United States today. Out here in the west many states have over 50% of their state owned by the federal government.

I hope one day we go back to the constitution as the law of this land as our founders intended before it is too late.

Son of Liberty

I don’t like the idea of federal ownership for lands except that allowed in the U.S. Constitution. Given that, I AM all for fair and equal use of all public lands regardless of state/federal ownership. It does concern me greatly that either state/federal can/will close off public lands and not allow hunting/fishing and other uses (4 wheeling, skiing, hiking, camping, etc.) by the general public. This is public land, and must be available for use by the general public. Given that, I would much prefer the state be the land owner, but NOT if they are going to close it… Read more »


The more Federal land the better. The smaller the number of politicians you have to by the easier it is. City politicians are easier to buy that State. Stae politicians are easier to by than Federal. Make it as hard as you can on politicians with three teeth.

David Akin

On one hand, smaller government by eliminating duplication of services, sounds like a good idea. But then you hear of how badly some states treat public lands and those that would use them. Here in Oregon, state lands are being fenced off and restrictions are plenty!

Grey Beard

David, your State is owned and operated by the Communists in Portland. You know that, I know that, and lots of other people know that.
Regulation of State land must be wrested from State Government officials and forced to be shared 1/3 each among State officials, plus 1/3 Local officials and 1/3 Local Citizens. All Local representatives chosen by Local voters in ON SITE and IN PERSON elections with Picture voter ID, NO GD mailed ballots!

C. L.

Are you insane, opposing this? The federal government NEEDS to be cut down to size in as many ways as possible. Think Bundy. Think Hammond. I never thought I’d see support for something like this here.


Cal your a real fool!

C. L.

at least I have an opinion that was not spoon-fed to me, drone.

C. L.

One more thing. People who have an argument present their side, as I did. People who don’t, resort to name-calling. It is a travesty and absolutely outrageous that the Federal government owns upwards of 80% of some states. See that? It’s called an opinion. We’re all allowed to have one in the US, aren’t we?


C.L. I don’t know where you live, but in Utah 70% + is Fed owned land(BLM, Forest Service). Administration and cost of fire suppression of these lands is covered by the Feds. All of this land is open to hunting, fishing, camping, atv riding,ect… to the public at no charge. State trust lands which are also public have been and are being sold off for short term profit. Now they are closed to the public. These properties are now private hunting or housing( NO TRESPASSING). If Fed grounds were turned over to the States, The same will happen. Then Utah… Read more »

Wild Bill

Brother CL, asking “Are you insane…?” is as much a personal insult as “… your (sic) a real fool. As to opinion, I have not formed mine yet on this issue, and neither of these comments are helpful. I live in Texas. We come from a different history , and thus we don’t have large percentages of land owned by the federal government. So maybe it is just a matter of which government that you trust… federal or state. And there are a lot of really rich people out there, mightn’t all this land fall into their hands exclusively if… Read more »

C. L.

You are right, of course, in that my comment was just as personal as the one I responded to. Thank you for such a reasoned reply. MIke, you, too. I obviously have strong feelings about this issue, and Bill, you are right. Who I trust more has a lot to do with it. The BLM, Dept. of Int., USFW, EPA, etc., etc., etc., have way too much power that does not have any checks to it. I believe that states like Utah would do a far better job managing lands within its’ boundaries than the massive, bureaucratic jungle in DC.… Read more »