House of Representatives Passes Land Provision; Sportsmen Push Back

U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. House of Representatives
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

WASHINGTON -( The 115th Congress capped its first day late Tuesday with a vote to give away America’s public lands and waters, recalculating the costs of public lands transfers and easing current restrictions for shifting their oversight to individual states or private interests.

Passed largely along party lines by the U.S. House of Representatives as part of a rules package, the provision would designate any transfer legislation “budget neutral,” eliminating existing safeguards against undervaluing public lands, disregarding any revenue or economic benefits currently generated and paving the way for quick and discreet giveaways of valuable lands and waters – including national forests, wildlife refuges and BLM lands – historically owned by the American people.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers decried the measure, introduced by Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, and strongly criticized House members who voted in support of it.

“As the 115th Congress enters its first week, some of our elected officials are wasting no time in paving the way to steal our outdoor heritage,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “Buried in a litany of other measures is language inserted by Congressman Bishop that would make it easier to give away America’s public lands. For sportsmen, this provision sticks out like a sore thumb. If it’s a fight they want, they’ve got one coming – and I’m betting on public lands hunters and anglers.”

Currently the Congressional Budget Office provides estimates of the costs of proposed public lands transfers by evaluating the economic impacts of existing uses such as energy development and logging.

Multiple studies show that individual states are ill-equipped to shoulder the costs of managing lands currently owned by the public and, if they took ownership of these lands, would ultimately be forced to sell them to private interests.

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


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Every Rep that voted yes should be tried for violating their oath of office.


if the ONLY thing this bill did was to disarm all the FedGov agents roaming about in the West playing rogue cop and harrassing citizens, it would be a good start.

I am convinced all the armed FedGov agtents are the “civilian army” the kinyun said we need to have….. how many thousands of firearms and billions of rounds do all these goons have? on OUR nickel?


Another thing that is not being told here is that there are no property taxes paid on the vast pieces of land. States suffer the consequences of “Government owned lands.” If I bought a piece of property I would get a loan or spend my own money to buy the property. The govt. has no money that belongs to them. All they have is tax revenue dollars. Therefore, they are spending our money to do something they are, Constitutionally, not able to do then they spend millions of our dollars to police these vast partials of land. Looks to me… Read more »


Face it ; The Feds NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to own ANY LAND in ANY STATE except that required for Federal Government offices and FORTS. They should be required to turn over ALL lands to the various states and that includes the everything Obama grabbed through illegal eo’s.

Gene Ralno

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers hopes to give a voice to the silent wilderness. It’s not unlike most other conservation organizations and I doubt that many hunters and fishermen are activists on their behalf. Kumbaya isn’t the hunter’s song. But the point here is the federal government has no business owning such colossal expanses of land. Any land transferred to the states should be accompanied with human and economic resources used by any federal agency to oversee it. One glance at a WaPo map (since this cannot be edited, I can only hope the link works) reveals how expansive it is… Read more »


No not even national parks and especially not monumants. I know a few of them and Fed power is stupidly abused, to the serious hurt of locals and long term users. End ALL FedGov land ownership.


There is an interesting constitutional issue involved here that no one is talking about, but it underlies the problems that arose with the BLM and the Bundy ranch and Malfleur Refuge standoffs, so it SHOULD be discussed. To begin with, our Constitution is quite specific about the purposes for which our federal govt can own land. Essentially, they can own land in Washington DC for the seat of govt, and elsewhere for postal roads and facilities, or for military facilities. That’s IT. So, in fact, the BLM, the National Forest System, and the National Park Service, are all unconstitutional agencies,… Read more »

Wild Bill

@old So if the Feds called the lands forts then Federal ownership would be legal. And the agencies would become Fort Custodian Agencies. And the park rangers would become Fort Rangers.

Gene Ralno

In my opinion, the only way to amend the Constitution these days is through the Convention of State Legislatures now meeting and growing. They’re choosing potential amendments and this might be a good one.


I believe you are not completely correct. please watch and listen to Randy Newbergs video on the subject. The states will have to take this land from my dead hands.

Jim in Conroe

I am somewhat of a mixed opinion as to whether it would be better to transfer control at the state level, where state based sportsmen, outdoors, hunting, fishing, and firearms organizations would have more influence, or to leave it in the hands of the federal government. The argument seems to be, that local governments are more apt to be under pressure from developers to sell off or commit the land to other than sporting uses. Of course, the federal government is not immune to the influences of lobbyists , and they have a record of mismanagement of lands under their… Read more »


local government will be more responsibive and responsible to the local residents. They could be amenable to special interests, but maybe not…. most states will do better then FedGov.

Then, consider that the Constitution clearly prohibits FedGov owning or controlling ANY lands except for a very few limited instances….. the original state charters provided that ALL lands situatie within their borders as they were formed were to become part of those states…. smoehoe FedGov glommed onto those lands.. they hold more than half of all lands west of the Mississippi…. time that game ends.


This is a nice opinion piece, but hardly journalism. Maybe a good, unbiased report on the actual legislation?


You do realize Backcountry Hunters is a liberal, anti-gun front organization.

Mark Zanghetti

No I had no idea of such a thing, got any info to back that up?


I’ve read quite a bit of their antics the bills and ideas they support/oppose, they are a big government Agenda 21/30, keeping public out of public lands, values.

Anything they’ve promoted or supported, I find offensive and anti-people…… they seem to think all public land needs to be locked up from public use……


You do realize the moon is made of cheese.

What evidence do you have to support your claims?


Look up BHA. They are the Sierra Club for wealthy hunters and fishermen and their outfitters and guides. They have little concern for the working man’s access to hunting and fishing and think Washington bureaucrats are best at managing access to federal lands because BHA has lobbyists who can protect their access while restricting the input of local governments and residents. Try living next to federal lands and see how the locals get shut out. Roadless and restricted roads decisions made by Prius driving, granola eating federal managers ruin opportunities for local benefit from the land. They closed the road… Read more »


Are you sure you aren’t confusing the Backcountry Hunters with the Backcountry Horsemen. The B Horsemen are definitely out to eliminate hunting so that they can ride the “backcountry” without their horses being spooked by gunfire or “fearing for their safety.” They are extremely wealthy and well organized and have a political lobby second to none. In Washington state, in 2007, B Horsemen lobbied for a new chapter, WAC 232-13, to be added to the wildlife regs. WAC 232-13 created a no hunting perimeters of 500 feet around all WDFW campgrounds…and shortly thereafter hitching posts sprouted in these campgrounds. When… Read more »