Utah Backpedals on Lawsuit Seeking Control of Public Lands

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -(Ammoland.com)- In the wake of rapidly escalating opposition by sportsmen and other citizens to attempts to sell, transfer or seize the public estate, Utah legislators have backpedaled on a lawsuit that would have claimed ownership of public lands and waters that lie within the state’s borders.

The Utah legislature’s Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands voted in December to draft a complaint that would contest continued public ownership of public lands and waters, which constitute approximately two thirds of the state.

The nature of the suit – and its cost, estimated at $14 million – was roundly criticized by sportsmen groups, including Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

BHA’s Utah chapter today responded to the announcement by Utah House Resources Committee Keven Stratton, sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 1, one of several measures being considered by the Utah state legislature that focus on seizing control or ownership of American public lands.

“Western sportsmen and women, Utahans in particular, should breathe a sigh of relief after learning that our legislature has decided to back away from this unpopular and fiscally irresponsible land transfer lawsuit,” said Braxton McCoy, a Utah BHA board member. “However, just as this was not the first attempt to steal our public lands, it surely will not be the last.

“We as outdoorsmen need to recognize that short-sighted politicians have sought to sell off our land since Roosevelt was in office,” continued McCoy, who lives in Holden. “This victory – while important – is just a small battle in an ongoing war.”

The state of Utah continues to find itself the centerpoint of public lands controversies. Earlier this month, following widespread condemnation by hunters, anglers and others, Rep. Jason Chaffetz withdrew legislation from the U.S. House of Representatives that would have mandated the sale of more than 3 million acres of public lands across the country.

On social media, Chaffetz, dressed in camo, cited the reaction of groups he supports in driving his decision. A companion bill that would eliminate federal law enforcement officers on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands continues to generate criticism from sportsmen, LEOs and others.

Utah and other Western states have unparalleled fishing and hunting access on public lands. These lands represent a boon for the few political leaders, developers and others who stand to gain handsomely if they are removed from the public trust. BHA remains committed to opposing the sale and transfer of public lands.

“American sportsmen have made our position clear,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “We absolutely oppose any efforts to sell, steal or otherwise take from us our public lands and waters. President Trump likewise has pledged to keep public lands in public hands. We will hold him to that promise. We won’t relinquish our outdoors heritage without a fight.”

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


Learn more about BHA:

Visit our website.
Connect with us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
Find us on Instagram.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John Dunlap

We must have Federal management of wild areas in order to prevent such disasters as the poisoning of the Yellow river, the slaughter of thousands of wild horses, the loss of wildlife, including the endangered desert tortoise, not to mention a significant part of our domestic beef production, from the wanton destruction of privately maintained water sources, the obliteration of ranches by improperly set backfires…. oh wait, I forgot, all of these atrocities were committed by FEDERAL land management agencies. Nevermind.

Wild Bill

Dunlap, All good points. Management by Federal bureaucrats of anything equates to a third rate charlie foxtrot. But how do we make sure that these lands do not transfer from We the People, forever. State officials can be just as corrupt as the Mafia. Some of We the People can by just as uncaring, foolish, and shortsighted as the common litter bug. Illegal aliens working for cartels bring in miles of irrigation tube, marijuana plants, fertilizer, and boobie trap their fields because ordinary American tourists are not permitted to go in delicate areas. What is the answer?

Charlie Redfeather

But most of are not, Wild Bill, and thats what allows you to say pretty dumb things about those that are!!

John Dunlap

That should be, “most of them”, Charlie. I also notice you didn’t bother to clarify which points aren’t “good”, while you were typing your juvenile attempt to insult another commenter. Which leads me to my next question; which BLM do you work for, Charlie? Or is it the OFA?

Charlie Redfeather

Well John, you have my attention!! There was no attempt to insult you aree anyone, however you have managed to insult this “JUVENILE” Yeah! Right !! An 83 year old Retired Mining Engineer, who has had to claw, plead, beg and fight with every Damn BLM office in the Western United Stataes!! My point was that UTAH sure as Helll not as corrupt as the Mafia. But you must remember, while UTAH is not the biggest State in America, it has 3 times more National Parks, Federal Monuments, and Federally protected areas than any other State!! We don’t need brain… Read more »

John Dunlap

, you still haven’t said a single intelligible thing, just tossed out threats and insults. What the hell are you trying to say? I’m getting the vague impression that you think I was defending the BLM. Go get your dictionary, and look up the word “sarcasm.”

Wild Bill

R, Well…with all due respect, I am not sure what you are telling me. If you have an answer to the issue of proper management of the peoples’ land. I am willing to read it.

Charlie Redfeather

Wild Bill: please do not try to patronize me! I’m not about to open my mouth just to remove doubt as to my ignorance. It appears you know everything about land management, so go ahead open your mouth!!

John Dunlap

I don’t really think there is a good answer. I do know that in general, the people who make the best stewards are those who live there, since they have a vested interest in protecting their land, but not always. Greed too often trumps common sense. Some regulation is necessary, but there is always the danger that it will be turned into a tool of oppression. I think the only answer to that is constant vigilance (was it Adams who warned us about that very thing? I can’t remember). Americans have been acting like absentee landlords, expecting our supposedly elected… Read more »


IDIOTS; The Feds have NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to OWN any land Other than Washington , DC and what is needed for military bases and government buildings.
MOST states do a much better job of conservation that the federal government; Have you forgot the EPA polluting three rivers with toxic wastes?


BHA is a liberal shill group. This is fake news supreme.

H.K. Latham

The state manages wildlife, not the feds. Colorado does a good job, so can Utah.

B. Dalton

I have watched this Land issue play out now for 75 years!! I have seen the Feds come into southern Utah and designate Arches, then Canyonlands , then the gobbloins, then Hovenweep, then one after the other until there wasn’t any more imagined land left!! Boy boy was I wrong !! Along come this last Idiot and he designate “BEARS EARS” at one million, one hundred and fifty thousand acres ! Now thirty thousand I could understand, but to lock up millions from Multiple Use with the restrictions of a National Park is absolutely INSANE. I asked one of his… Read more »