Bad Public Lands Bills Advance in House; Sportsmen Strongly Critical

Bills would legislate seizure of millions of acres of public lands, threaten fish and wildlife habitat, public access opportunities

Public Lands
Public Lands
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

Missoula, MT -( A vote today by House of Representatives members to advance legislation that would enable the seizure of public lands is being strongly criticized by public lands sportsmen, who called the bills an affront to America’s national public lands legacy.

Rep. Raul Labrador’s Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act (H.R. 2316) and Rep. Don Young’s State National Forest Management Act of 2015 (H.R. 3650) passed out of the House Committee on Natural Resources during this morning’s markup. The bills would legislate the transfer of millions of acres of public lands and jeopardize the health of America’s national forest system, fish and wildlife habitat, and public access to quality hunting and fishing.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers spoke out on behalf of public lands sportsmen in condemning the measures and criticizing today’s House vote.

“Once again, the House Natural Resources Committee has voted in favor of legislation that not only goes against the will of the American people; it also attacks the very foundation of our national heritage,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “We the people must stand up and let Congress, members of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Committee Chair Rob Bishop know that public lands must remain in public hands. These ill-fated proposals should be left to die on the vine.”

Following today’s vote, the bills will receive consideration by the full House. BHA remains committed to preventing their passage by the House and to working with Senate leaders to block advancement of any legislation facilitating the transfer of the nation’s public lands.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen’s voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife. 

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About Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:

Formed around an Oregon campfire in 2004, BHA is the sportsmen’s voice for our nation’s wild public lands, waters and wildlife. With members in all 50 states and Canada, 18 state-based chapters and a chapter in British Columbia, BHA brings an authentic, informed, boots-on-the-ground voice to the conservation of public lands.

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I just read Labrador’s bill and it sounds perfectly reasonable. It wants to give local counties management authority over some of the vast stretches of Federal land that make up the majority of the property in that county. These lands pay no property taxes to the local school districts. This authority would be subject to all the many eco laws passed by Congress like Clean Water, sustainable forestry practices, etc. And citizen’s right to hunt and recreate is specifically PROTECTED in the bill. I don’t understand Ammoland’s resistance to common-sense land management reform. By the way, logging is good for… Read more »


1. Yes, the west has more national forest service land…Know your history what land was still open in the early 1900s. In part why a large portion is in the west. 2. 8% of the all US national forest land is considered “wildnerness areas” and fall under the roadless rules. National Forests are not inaccessible, you do not need a road to get you from point A to point B. Hunting these lands is still accessible with your legs, horse back, llhama…etc I personally enjoy being in the woods with my kids and not running into roads. If one wants… Read more »


The states will not be selling these lands to the lumber companies. The lumber companies have been selling off their huge tracts of land to private owners. The domestic lumber industry is on its knees. It can’t compete with Canada. The Prius driving District Rangers are blocking off the century old roads that see very little vehicle traffic as it is and spending tax dollars to tear them out. These are not Wilderness areas. These are new roadless policies, not Wilderness roadless policies. They will not be available for wildfire suppression. They will not even allow snowmobiles to use the… Read more »

Ella Masters

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers claims to be the voice of Sportsmen, but in reality are a leftist environmental activist group. Let’s not be deceived here folks……Transfer of public lands to state control does not open the door for “seizure” of these lands, it puts control of the lands back where it belongs. The transfer would mean less waste, more efficient and focused management of public lands, less bureaucracy, and greater revenue for states and their residents. The People would have a greater voice in the management practices of our forests and parks. States have the same interest in preserving the… Read more »

Michael Workman

This is a re-run of James Watt’s land grab from the Reagan administration. The only purpose is to transfer land to state ownership in order to make the sales to cronys invisible. States can’t afford to do the kind of care that the Feds can perform. The only result will be a progressive loss of public land, and more cheap land in the control of weirdos like Ted Turner.


These bills allow local management of the forest lands. It is not surprising an organization based in ultra-liberal Oregon would oppose local control. The feds keep getting in the way of local use. Roadless rules in National Forests are making them inaccessible. The National Forest District Rangers are hell-bent on preventing access to National Forests at the expense of the local communities. When hunters can’t access the forests, the local communities lose the economic value of hunting. This gives local/state control of these transferred lands in a last ditch effort to revive the local communities that have been devastated by… Read more »


BHA is based in Montana, so Genius, if you are going to be critical of an organization, at least do it with accurate info, rather than bs.


BHA was founded in Oregon. They likely set up in Missoula because Missoula is the liberal armpit of Montana. It has a very liberal forestry department at University of Montana.


This “article” (political statement) makes the Federal land agencies sound like they support public land use. That is BS. They support themselves and a green agenda, said agenda includes restricting hunting and access. They DO sell land to their cronies. The eastern States have 4% Federal land. The west has 50%. Let the local States manage land just as in the East. They are not going to destroy America’s heritage. The Feds will.